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.,,- ,,,v    ,:•.;::;,::.    PREFACE    ;•:,„!,  K;-.,:,;; ;i,.. /,  ^ 

FOR  years  past — as  far  back  as  1904 — many  of  us  had  been  looking 
forward  to  the  Shakespeare  Tercentenary  as  the  occasion  for  some 
fitting  memorial  to  symbolize  the  intellectual  fraternity  of  mankind  in 
the  universal  homage  accorded  to  the  genius  of  the  greatest  Englishman. 
We  had  hoped  that,  on  a  site  which  has  already  been  acquired,  a  stately 
building,  to  be  associated  with  his  august  name,  equipped  and  adequately 
endowed  for  the  furtherance  of  Shakespearian  drama  and  dramatic  art 
generally,  would  have  made  the  year  1916  memorable  in  the  annals  of 
the  English  stage. 

At  a  noteworthy  meeting  held  in  July  1914  of  delegates  nominated 
by  many  institutions,  universities,  societies,  and  other  bodies,  to  consider 
the  question  of  the  observance  of  the  Shakespeare  Tercentenary,  Lord 
Bryce  as  President  of  the  British  Academy  presiding,  it  was  unanimously 
resolved,  on  the  motion  of  the  American  Ambassador,  His  Excellency 
W.  H.  Page,  *  That  the  Tercentenary  of  the  death  of  Shakespeare 
should  be  commemorated  in  a  manner  worthy  of  the  veneration  in  which 
the  memory  of  Shakespeare  is  held  by  the  English-speaking  peoples 
and  by  the  world  at  large '.  The  delegates,  representing  the  British 
Empire,  the  United  States,  and  foreign  countries,  were  constituted  as 
a  General  Committee,  and  an  Executive  Committee  was  appointed,  with 
Lord  Plymouth  as  Chairman,  and  myself  as  Honorary  Secretary. 

Then  came  the  War  ;  and  the  dream  of  the  world's  brotherhood 
to  be  demonstrated  by  its  common  and  united  commemoration  of 
Shakespeare,  with  many  another  fond  illusion,  was  rudely  shattered. 
In  face  of  sterner  duties  all  such  projects  fell  necessarily  into  abeyance. 
Some  months  ago,  however,  it  was  recognized  (and  the  call  came  to  us 
from  many  quarters  at  home  and  abroad)  that  not  even  under  present 
conditions  should  the  Shakespeare  Tercentenary  be  allowed  to  pass 
unobserved,  though  the  scope  of  our  original  programme  would  of 


necessity  be  modified, — though  we  could  not  hope  to  witness  even  the 
foundation  of  the  proposed  Shakespeare  Theatre,  nor  to  welcome,  as  we 
had  anticipated,  the  many  devotees  of  the  poet  who  would  have  wished 
to  participate  in  our  Commemoration. 

We  knew  we  should  have  our  friends  with  us  in  spirit  on  the  great 
occasion  ;  and  it  seemed  to  me,  in  one  way  at  least,  possible  to  link  their 
homage  with  ours,  and  to  hand  down  to  posterity  a  worthy  Record  of 
the  widespread  reverence  for  Shakespeare  as  shared  with  the  English- 
speaking  world  by  our  Allies  and  Neutral  States,  namely,  by  the  publica 
tion,  in  honour  of  the  Tercentenary,  of  a  Book  of  Homage  to  Shakespeare, 
with  contributions  in  prose  and  verse,  representing  the  ubiquity  of  the 
poet's  mighty  influence.  Accordingly,  encouraged  by  those  whom  I 
ventured  to  consult,  and  subsequently  with  the  approval  of  the  Ter 
centenary  Committee,  I  took  upon  myself  the  responsible  and  onerous 
task,  complicated  by  present  conditions  ;  and  the  ready  and  generous 
co-operation  of  one  hundred  and  sixty-six  Homagers  finds  expression 
in  the  present  volume.  Time  and  space  necessitated  certain  limitations  ; 
and  it  has  not  been  possible  to  include  many  who  would  have  been 
willing  to  join  in  our  Homage,  and  whose  tributes  to  the  poet  would 
have  been  valued  by  all  Shakespearians.  The  original  plan  of  the  book 
fixed  the  maximum  number  of  contributors  at  one  hundred.  It  soon 
became  clear  that  this  would  have  to  be  increased,  and  that  the  British 
Empire  alone  could  not  well  be  represented  by  less  than  one  hundred 
contributors,  with  some  seventy  more  representing  America,  France, 
Italy,  Greece,  Spain  and  Spanish-speaking  countries,  Portugal,  Rou- 
mania,  Switzerland,  Belgium,  Holland,  Iceland,  Denmark,  Sweden, 
Norway,  Russia,  Serbia,  Poland,  '  Jugoslavia ',  Finland,  Japan,  China, 
Persia,  Armenia — to  follow  the  arrangement  of  the  book,  where  the 
nations  are  grouped  by  languages,  namely,  English,  Romance,  Dutch, 
Scandinavian,  Slavonic,  &c.  These  languages,  however,  do  not  exhaust 
the  list,  for  from  British  subjects  we  have  tributes,  not  only  in  the  classic 
dead  languages  of  antiquity,  Greek,  Latin,  Hebrew,  Sanskrit,  but  also 
in  the  living  languages  of  Ireland,  Wales,  India  (Bengalee,  Urdu,  and 
Burmese),  Egypt  (Arabic),  and  South  Africa  (the  Bechuana  dialect). 

It  is  indeed  a  long-drawn  procession  that  is  here  presented  ;   and 


before  it  is  graciously  ushered  in  by  our  honoured  chieftain  Mr.  Thomas 
Hardy,  it  is  my  pleasant  duty  to  record  my  profound  thanks  to  him  and 
to  all  those  who  have  made  it  possible  for  the  Book  of  Homage  to  come 
forth  amid  the  throes  of  this  world-travail.  I  am  grateful  to  many  of  my 
contributors  for  much  kind  indulgence  in  difficult  and  delicate  questions  ; 
and  I  owe  a  special  debt  of  gratitude  to  the  trusty  advisers  who  have 
given  me  the  benefit  of  their  valued  counsel.  I  regret  that,  for  various 
reasons,  it  has  not  been  possible  to  give  translations  in  all  cases  where 
a  full  English  rendering  would  have  been  desirable  ;  the  marginal 
paraphrases  will,  I  trust,  prove  helpful,  as  indicating  the  general  purport 
of  certain  contributions  in  languages  not  generally  known.  A  few 
contributions  have  unfortunately  not  reached  me  in  time  for  inclusion 
in  the  volume. 

While  the  work  has  been  in  progress,  we  have  had  to  mourn  the 
loss  of  some  whose  names  would  have  added  lustre  to  the  Roll  of  our 
Homagers — the  late  Mr.  Henry  James,  so  noble  a  link  between  the 
English-speaking  peoples ;  my  ever  revered  and  kind  friend  Mr.  Stopford 
Brooke,  to  whom,  for  his  Primer  of  English  Literature  and  its  inspiring 
force,  the  teaching  of  English  literature,  in  my  opinion,  owes  more  than 
to  any  other  man  of  our  time  ;  Canon  Ellacombe,  the  nonagenarian, 
whose  Plant-Lore  and  Garden-Craft  of  Shakespeare  made  Shakespeare's 
Garden  of  Flowers  burgeon  forth  anew  ;  Count  Ugo  Balzani,  endeared 
to  many  Englishmen,  who  had  been  nominated  by  the  Lincei,  of  Rome, 
to  represent  that  learned  Academy  at  the  Tercentenary  Commemoration, 
who  was  present  at  the  meeting  constituting  the  General  Committee 
in  1914,  and  who  was  preparing  his  Homage  to  Shakespeare  at  the  time 
of  his  lamented  death  ;  and,  lastly,  Her  Majesty  Queen  Elizabeth  of 
Roumania,  whose  memory,  as  Carmen  Sylva,  is  enshrined  in  the  hearts 
of  those  who  cherish  the  tender  blossoms  of  sweet  poesy.  All  these 
and  others  should  be  gratefully  remembered,  for  they  are  with  us  in 
our  Homage. 

I  desire  to  express  my  sincerest  thanks  to  many  who  have  helped 
me  in  various  ways — Mr.  Nevill  Forbes,  Reader  in  Russian  in  the  Uni 
versity  of  Oxford  (for  his  excellent  translations  of  the  Russian  and  other 
Slavonic  contributions)  ;  Professor  Margoliouth,  Laudian  Professor  of 


Arabic  in  the  University  of  Oxford  (for  reading  the  proofs  of  the  Arabic 
poems,  and  for  summarizing  their  contents)  ;  Professor  Paul  Hamelius, 
of  the  University  of  Liege  (for  valued  assistance  with  Dutch  and  Flemish); 
Sir  Charles  Eliot,  Principal  of  the  University  of  Hong-kong,  and  the 
Rev.  S.  B.  Drake,  King's  College,  London,  in  respect  of  Chinese  ;  Pro 
fessor  Longford  (for  advice  on  Japanese)  ;  Mrs.  Rhys  Davids  (for  her 
good  offices  in  helping  me  to  secure  adequate  representation  of  Burmese); 
Miss  Laurence  Alma-Tadema  ;  Mr.  Mikhail,  an  Egyptian  student  of 
King's  College  ;  Miss  Alice  Werner,  Miss  Winifred  Stephens,  and 
Miss  Mabel  Day. 

I  would  add  my  best  thanks  to  Mr.  J.  F.  Blumhardt,  Professor  of 
Hindustani,  University  College,  London,  for  generously  preparing  for 
me  a  comprehensive  catalogue  of  all  the  versions  of  Shakespeare  in  the 
Aryan  languages  and  dialects  of  India,  for  a  survey  I  had  contemplated 
of  the  renderings  of  Shakespeare  into  foreign  languages. 

Finally,  I  wish  to  place  on  record  my  profound  appreciation  of  the 
manner  in  which  Mr.  F.  J.  Hall,  Controller  of  the  Oxford  University 
Press,  and  his  staff,  have  carried  this  work  through,  under  exceptional 
difficulties.  But  for  Mr.  Hall's  zeal,  and  the  marvellous  organization 
of  the  Oxford  University  Press,  the  Book  could  not  possibly  have  been 
published  in  time  for  the  Tercentenary.  The  workmanship  speaks 
for  itself.  I  desire  also  to  express  my  thanks  to  Mr.  Emery  Walker  for 
his  share  in  the  artistic  side  of  the  volume. 

It  is  my  hope  that  this  Shakespeare  Tercentenary  Book  may  in 
augurate  the  annual  issue  of  a  volume  of  Shakespeare  studies,  or,  at  all 
events,  that  it  may  help  forward  some  Shakespearian  work  ;  and  to  this 
purpose  I  propose  to  devote  the  profits,  if  any,  accruing  from  this  labour 
of  loyal  homage  and  dutiful  reverence,  from  this  Book  of  Homage  to 
Shakespeare — and  to  Shakespeare's  England. 

I.  G, 

April  20,  1916. 



To  SHAKESPEARE  AFTER  300  YEARS       .         .  ^      .         .         .        i 


'  THIS  FIGURE,  THAT  THOU  HERE  SEEST  PUT  '          .         .         .        3 


THE  RIDDLE         .         . .13 



LAURENCE  BINYON,  author  of  London  Visions,  &c. 


THE  RT.  HON.  VISCOUNT  BRYCE,  O.M.,  President  of  the  British 

SOME  STRAY  THOUGHTS         ....        .        .         .      22 

HIS  EMINENCE  CARDINAL  GASQUET,  author  of  Henry  VIII  and 

the  English  Monasteries,  &c. 


JOHN  DRINKWATER,  author  of  Poems  of  Men  and  Hours,  &c. 

FOR  APRIL  23,  1616-1916      .         .         .         .         .       ..'.         ,      30 

REV.  WILLIAM  BARRY,  D.D.  (Rome),  author  of  The  New  Antigone 

THE  CATHOLIC  STRAIN  IN  SHAKESPEARE          .         .         .         .;      31 


HEROINES r.(       ';        ..      .       35 




JOHN  GALSWORTHY,  author  of  The  Silver  Box,  &c. 


F.  R.  BENSON,  LL.D. 


H.  B.  IRVING,  M.A.  (Oxford) 




ALFRED  PERCEVAL  GRAVES,  author  of  Songs  of  Killarney,  &c. 


PROFESSOR  W.  P.  KER,  LL.D.,  F.B.A.,  University  Professor  of 
English  Language  and  Literature,  University  College, 
London ;  author  of  Epic  and  Romance,  &c. 

CERVANTES,  SHAKESPEARE,  AND  THE  PASTORAL  IDEA        .        .      49 



EVELYN  UNDERBILL  (MRS.  STUART  MOORE),  author  of  Mysticism, 
a  Study  in  the  Nature  and  Development  of  Man's  Spiritual 
Consciousness,  Practical  Mysticism,  &c. 

WILLIAM  SHAKESPEARE          .         .         .         .  .         .56 

JOHN  BURNET,  LL.D.,  Professor  of  Greek  in  the  University  of 
St.  Andrews 

SHAKESPEARE  AND  GREEK  PHILOSOPHY  .         .        ...  58 

W.  MACNEILE  DIXON,  Litt.D.,  Professor  of  English  Literature  in 
the  University  of  Glasgow ;  author  of  English  Poetry  from 
Blake  to  Browning 


W.  H.  HADOW,  D.Mus.,  Principal,  Armstrong  College,  Newcastle 




J.  A.  FULLER-MAITLAND,  editor  of  Grove's  Dictionary  of  Music,  &c. 

BIANCA'S  MUSIC-LESSON         .......      70 

WILLIAM  BARCLAY  SQUIRE,  Assistant-Keeper,  British  Museum ; 
author  of  Catalogue  of  old  Printed  Music  in  the  British 
Museum,  &c. 

SHAKESPEARIAN  OPERAS         .......       75 

REGINALD  BLOMFIELD,  R.A.,  author  of  History  of  Renaissance 
Architecture  in  England,  &c. 


SIR  SIDNEY  COLVIN,  Hon.  D.Litt.,  Oxford,  Member  of  the  Royal 
Academy  of  Belgium,  late  Keeper  of  Prints  and  Drawings, 
British  Museum 



LIONEL  CUST,   C.V.O.,   Litt.D.,   F.S.A.,   formerly  Director  of  the 

National  Portrait  Gallery 

SHAKESPEARE        .........     100 

LIEUT.-COL.  SIR  RONALD  ROSS,  K.C.B.,  F.R.S.,  Nobel  Laureate  ; 
author  of  Malarial  Fever:  its  Cause,  Prevention,  and 

SHAKESPEARE,  1916 .     104 

W.  H.  DAVIES,  author  of  The  Autobiography  of  a  Super-Tramp 


HENRY  BRADLEY,  Hon.  D.Litt.,  Oxford,  F.B.A.,  editor  of  The  New 
English  Dictionary 

SHAKESPEARE  AND  THE  ENGLISH  LANGUAGE  .         .        i  5      .     106 

SIR  SIDNEY  LEE,  Litt.D.,  F.B.A.,  University  Professor  of  English 
Language  and  Literature,  East  London  College;  author  of 
A  Life  of  Shakespeare,  &c. 




HERBERT  TRENCH,  formerly  Fellow  of  All  Souls  College,  Oxford  ; 
author  of  Deirdre  Wedded,  &c. 


ALFRED  NO  YES,  Hon.  Litt.D.  (Yale),  author  of  Drake,  Forty  Singing 
Seamen,  &c. 


MRS.  C.  C.  STOPES,  author  of  Shakespeare's  Environment,  &c. 

THE  MAKING  OF  SHAKESPEARE       .         .         .         .         .        .118 

THE  VERY  REV.  H.  C.  BEECHING,  D.D.,  Dean  of  Norwich 


A.  CLUTTON-BROCK,  author  of  Shelley,  the  Man  and  the  Poet,  &c. 


MORTON  LUCE,  author  of  Shakespeare,  the  Man  and  his  Work,  &c. 


W.  F.  TRENCH,  M.A.  (Cantab.),  Litt.D.  (Dublin),  Professor  of  English 
Literature  in  the  University  of  Dublin ;  author  of  Shake 
speare's  Hamlet,  &c. 


GEORGE  SAINTSBURY,  D.Litt.,  F.B.A.,  late  Professor  of  English 
Literature  in  the  University  of  Edinburgh ;  author  of  History 
of  English  Prosody,  &c. 

SHAKESPEARE  AS  TOUCHSTONE        ......     137 

THE  RT.  HON.  J.  M.  ROBERTSON,  M.P.,  author  of  Montaigne  and 
Shakespeare,  &c. 


W.  J.  COURTHOPE,  C.B.,  Litt.D.,  F.B.A.,  formerly  Prof essor  of  Poetry 
in  the  University  of  Oxford ;  author  of  History  of  English 
Poetry,  &c. 

THE  TERCENTENARY  OF  SHAKESPEARE'S  DEATH— 1916     .         .     146 



THE   RT.   HON.  SIR  J.   RENNELL  RODD,   G.C.M.G.,  G.C.V.O., 

British  Ambassador  at  Rome ;    author  of  Ballads  of  the 
Fleet,  &c. 

A  THOUGHT  FROM  ITALY     .  >  jj 148 

JOHN  BAILEY,  author  of  Dr.  Johnson  and  his  Circle,  &c. 

A  NOTE  ON  FALSTAFF  .         .         .         .         .  ;1         .     149 

E.  K.  CHAMBERS,  C.B.,  author  of  The  Medieval  Stage,  &c. 

THE  OCCASION  OF  'A  MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S  DREAM'      <  I        .     154 


OLIVER  ELTON,  Professor  of  English  Literature  in  the  University 
of  Liverpool ;  author  of  Survey  of  English  Literature,  ij8o~ 
1830,  &c. 

HELENA        ....         .         ...         j         .     161 

W.  L.  COURTNEY,  LL.D.,  Fellow  of  New  College,  Oxford 

ORSINO  TO  OLIVIA         ........     162 

A.  C.  BRADLEY,  LL.D.,  F.B.A.,  formerly  Professor  of  Poetry  in  the 
University  of  Oxford ;  author  of  Shakespearean  Tragedy,  &c. 

FESTE  THE  JESTER        ........     164 

ISRAEL  GOLLANCZ,  Litt.D.,  F.B.A.,  University  Professor  of  English 
Language  and  Literature,  King's  College,  London ;  Secretary 
of  the  British  Academy ;  Honorary  Secretary  of  the  Shake 
speare  Tercentenary  Committee ;  editor  of  The  Temple 
Shakespeare,  &c. 


NAMES — '  SHYLOCK  ',  '  POLONIUS ',  '  MALVOLIO  '        .         .     170 

W.  W,  GREG,  Litt.D.,  author  of  Pastoral  Poetry  and  Pastoral  Drama, 

A  CRITICAL  MOUSETRAP         .         .         .       W'       /        .         .     179 

R.  WARWICK  BOND,  Professor  of  English  Literature,  University 
College,  Nottingham ;  editor  of  The  Complete  Works  of  John 
1600  181 



SIR  HENRY  NEWBOLT,  Professor  of  Poetry  in  the  Royal  Society  of 

Literature  ;  author  of  Admirals  all,  &c. 
A  NOTE  ON  '  ANTONY  AND  CLEOPATRA  '  .     183 

M.  W.  MACCALLUM,  Professor  of  Modern  Literature,  University  of 
Sydney;    author  of  Shakespeare's  Roman  Plays  and  their 
Background,  &c. 

HUGH  WALKER,  LL.D.,  Professor  of  English  Literature,  St.  David's 
College,  Lampeter;    author  of  Literature  of  the  Victorian 
Era,  &c. 
THE  KNOCKING  AT  THE  GATE  ONCE  MORE      .        .        .         .190 

J.  W.  MACKAIL,  LL.D.,  F.B.A.,  formerly  Professor  of  Poetry  in  the 
University  of  Oxford ;  author  of  The  Springs  of  Helicon,  &c. 

MOTHER  AND  SON  IN  '  CYMBELINE  '.....     193 

A.  C.  BENSON,  C.V.O.,  LL.D.,  President  of  Magdalene  College,  Cam 
bridge  ;  author  of  The  Upton  Letters,  &c. 

ARIEL 197 


THE  VISION  OF  THE  ENCHANTED  ISLAND        ....     200 

J.  LE  GAY  BRERETON,  author  of  Elizabethan  Drama  :    Notes  and 
Studies,  &c. 


W.  J.  LAWRENCE  (Dublin),  author  of  The  Elizabethan  Playhouse,  &c. 


THE   RT.    HON.  W.   J.  M.   STARKIE,   LL.D.,   Litt.D.,   editor   of 


A.  R.  SKEMP,  Professor  of  English  in  the  University  of  Bristol 




R.  G.  MOULTON,  M.A.  (Cantab.),  Professor  of  Literary  Theory  and 
Interpretation  in  the  University  of  Chicago ;  author  of 
Shakespeare  as  a  Dramatic  Artist,  &c. 


C.  H.  HERFORD,  Litt.D.,  Professor  of  English  Literature,  University 
of  Manchester ;  author  of  The  Literary  Relations  of  England 
and  Germany  in  the  Sixteenth  Century,  &c. 


G.  C.  MOORE  SMITH,  Litt.D.,  Hon.  Ph.D.  (Louvain),  Professor  of 
English  Language  and  Literature,  University  of  Sheffield; 
editor  of  Club  Law,  &c. 

SONNETS,  1616:1916     .         .         .       fl.      "'/•       .        .'        .     236 

A.  W.  POLLARD,  Assistant  Keeper,  British  Museum;  author  of 
Shakespeare's  Folios  and  Quartos,  &c. 

A  BIBLIOGRAPHER'S  PRAISE  .         .        .       ,.      ",*/,      ,        .     238 

SIR  A.  W.  WARD,  Litt.D.,  F.B.A.,  Master  of  Peterhouse,  Cambridge; 
author  of  History  of  English  Dramatic  Literature,  &c. 


ISRAEL  ZANGWILL,  author  of  Children  of  the  Ghetto,  &c. 

THE  Two  EMPIRES ;  "•{ .       .     248 

H.  B.  WHEATLEY,  D.C.L.,  late  President  of  the  Bibliographical 
Society ;  author  of  Medieval  London,  &c. 

LONDON'S  HOMAGE  TO  SHAKESPEARE      .         .         .        v;      .     249 



CITY  OF  LONDON    .         .        .        .:    ..      !s,.;?     ...       .     252 

FREDERICK  S.  BOAS,  LL.D.,  author  of  University  Drama  in  the 
Tudor  Age,  &c. 

OXFORD  AND  SHAKESPEARE   .         .         /     :/..*      4  :    ,.i        .     254 




ARTHUR  GRAY,  Master  of  Jesus  College,  Cambridge 


MISS  M.  DORMER  HARRIS,  editor  of  The  Coventry  Lett  Book,  &c. 


H.  J.  C.  GRIERSON,  LL.D.,  Professor  of  English  Literature  in  the 
University  of  Edinburgh ;  editor  of  the  Poems  of  John  Donne 

SHAKESPEARE  AND  SCOTLAND         ......     266 

THE  RT.  HON.  MR.  JUSTICE  MADDEN,  LL.D.,  Litt.D.,  Vice- 
Chancellor  of  Dublin  University ;  author  of  The  Diary  of 
Master  Silence,  &c. 

SHAKESPEARE  AND  IRELAND  .......     270 

DOUGLAS  HYDE,  (An  Craoibhin  Aoibhinn),  Litt.D.,  LL.D.,  author  of 
A  Literary  History  of  Ireland,  Love  Songs  of  Connacht,  &c. 



JOHN  EDWARD  LLOYD,  Professor  of  History,  University  College 
of  North  Wales,  Bangor ;  author  of  A  History  of  Wales,  &c. 


J.  MORRIS  JONES,  Professor  of  Welsh,  University  College  of  North 

REV.  J.  O.  WILLIAMS,  PEDROG  (Liverpool) 


J.  W.  H.  ATKINS,  Professor  of  English  Language  and  Literature, 
University  College  of  Wales,  Aberystwyth ;  late  Fellow  of 
St.  John's  College,  Cambridge 


SIR  JOHN  SANDYS,  Litt.D.,  F.B.A.,  Public  Orator  in  the  University 
of  Cambridge 

A  GREEK  EPIGRAM  ON  THE  TOMB  OF  SHAKESPEARE        .        .     291 



ALEXANDER  W.  MAIR,  Litt.D.,  Professor  of  Greek  in  the  University 
of  Edinburgh ;  editor  of  Hesiod,  &c. 

GREEK  DIALOGUE  IN  PRAISE  OF  SHAKESPEARE        .      ,.^n      .     292 

SIR  HERBERT  WARREN,  K.C.V.O.,  President  of  Magdalen  College, 
Oxford ;  late  Professor  of  Poetry,  University  of  Oxford 

COMMEMORATIO  DORYSSOI         .......      306 

THE  REV.  H.  GOLLANCZ,  D.Litt.,  Goldsmid  Professor  of  Hebrew, 
University  College,  London ;  editor  of  The  Ethical  Treatises 
of  Berachya,  &c, 

HEBREW  ODE       .       v;$:       tr.      .        .        ,:,      .       . .,  .      .    307 

A.  A.  MACDONELL,  Ph.D.,  F.B.A.,  Boden  Professor  of  Sanskrit  in 
the  University  of  Oxford,  author  of  A  History  of  Sanskrit 
Literature,  &c. 

A  SANSKRIT  PANEGYRIC         .......     310 

THE  HON.  WILLIAM  PEMBER  REEVES,  Ph.D.  (Athens) ;  Director 
of  London  School  of  Economics ;  formerly  High  Com 
missioner  for  New  Zealand ;  author  of  The  Long  White 
Cloud,  a  History  of  New  Zealand,  &c. 

THE  DREAM  IMPERIAL  ........     312 

WILFRED  CAMPBELL,  LL.D.,  Canadian  poet,  author  of  Lake 
Lyrics,  &c. 

SHAKESPEARE        .        .      'V'      .       '. ';      .        v      .         .    314 

CAPTAIN  CHARLES  G.  D.  ROBERTS,  LL.D.,  Canadian  poet, 
author  of  The  Book  of  the  Native,  &c. 

To  SHAKESPEARE,  1916          .         .         .         .  ".       '-'.    315 

CANON  F.  G.  SCOTT,  C.M.G.,  D.C.L. ;  Senior  Chaplain,  ist  Canadian 
Division,  B.E.F. ;  author  of  The  Hymn  of  Empire,  and  Other 
Poems,  &c. 
'SHAKESPEARE'     .         .         .       '.-•       v        .         .      'V-      .     316 

ANANDA  COOMARASWAMY,  author  of  The  Arts  and  Crafts  of 
India  and  Ceylon,  &c. 

INTELLECTUAL  FRATERNITY    .        .        .        .      ^  .        *  v      .    317 

b  2 



SIR    RABINDRANATH    TAGORE,    D.Litt. ;    Nobel    Laureate    for 
Literature  ;  author  of  Gitanjali  ;  The  Crescent  Moon,  &c. 


MOHAMMED  IGVAL,  scholar  and  advocate  (Lahore),  and 
SARDAR  JOGUNDRA  SINGH,  Indian  novelist 

To  SHAKESPEARE  :  A  TRIBUTE  FROM  THE  EAST      .         .        .     322 

S.  Z.  AUNG,  Burmese  Buddhist  scholar  and  philosopher 

FROM  THE  BURMESE  BUDDHISTS    ......     324 

MAUNG  TIN,  M.A.,  of  Rangoon  College  ;  editor  of  Khuddaka  pdtha 








CHARLES  MILLS  GAYLEY,  Litt.D.,  LL.D.,  Professor  of  English 
Literature  in  the  University  of  California ;  editor  of  Repre 
sentative  English  Comedies,  &c. 


HORACE  HOWARD  FURNESS,  JUNR.,  editor  of  the  Variorum 


CLAYTON  HAMILTON,  dramatic  critic,  author  of  Stagecraft,  &c. 


JOHN   GRIER   HIBBEN,    Ph.D.,    LL.D.,    President    of   Princeton 




ROBERT  UNDERWOOD  JOHNSON,  Litt.D.,  LL.D.,  Secretary  of  the 
American  Academy  of  Arts  and  Letters ;  author  of  Songs  of 
Liberty,  &c. 

SHAKESPEARE        .........     351 

JOHN  MATTHEWS  MANLY,  LL.D.,  Professor  of  English  Literature 
in  the  University  of  Chicago  ;  editor  of  Specimens  of  the  Pre- 
Shahespearean  Drama 

Two  NEGLECTED  TASKS         ....        ;#       j  .'•      .    353 

BRANDER  MATTHEWS,  Litt.D.,  Professor  of  Dramatic  Literature, 
Columbia  University  ;  author  of  Shakspere  as  a  Playwright 

IF  SHAKSPERE  SHOULD  COME  BACK  ?.....     356 

FREDERICK  MORGAN  PADELFORD,  Ph.D.,  Professor  of  the  English 
Language  and  Literature  in  the  University  of  Washington ; 
editor  of  Early  Sixteenth  Century  Lyrics,  &c. 


WILLIAM  LYON  PHELPS,  Professor  of  English  Literature  at  Yale 

A  PLEA  FOR  CHARLES  THE  WRESTLER    .         .        V        .         .     362 

FELIX  E.  SCHELLING,  Professor  of  English  Literature  in  the  Uni 
versity  of  Pennsylvania  ;  author  of  Elizabethan  Drama,  &c.  . 

THE  COMMON  FOLK  OF  SHAKESPEARE     .        .         .         .        .    364 

OWEN  WISTER,  M.A.  (Harvard),  author  of  The  Virginian,  &c. 

FROM  A  LOVER  OF  SHAKESPEARE  AND  OF  ENGLAND        .        .    373 


GEORGE  SANTAYANA,  Litt.D.,  Ph.D.,  author  of  The  Life  of 
Reason,  &c. 



A  SHAKESPEARE ;v        .         . 



HENRI  BERGSON,  de  I'Acaddmie  fransaise ;  Corresponding  Fellow 

of  the  British  Academy 
HOMMAGE  A  SHAKESPEARE     ...  .  379 

MAURICE  BOUCHOR,  author  of  Les  Chansons  de  Shakespeare  mises 
en  vers  francais 

SHAKESPEARE '  .        .    381 

6MILE  BOUTROUX,  de  1' Academic  fransaise ;  Corresponding  Fellow 
of  the  British  Academy 


ALBERT  FEUILLERAT,  Professor  of  English  Language  and  Literature 
in  the  University  of  Rennes  ;  author  of  John  Lyly  ;  Black- 
friar  Records,  &c. 


&MILE  HOVELAQUE,  Inspecteur  GSneVal  de  Instruction  Publique 


HIS  EXCELLENCY  J.-J.  JUSSERAND,  French  Ambassador  at 
Washington  ;  Corresponding  Fellow  of  the  British  Academy  ; 
author  of  Histoire  litteraire  du  -peuple  anglais 

FRAGMENTS  SUR  SHAKESPEARE       .        .        .        .         .        .     399 

IiMILE  LEGOUIS,  Professor  of  English  Language  and  Literature  at 
the  Sorbonne  ;  author  of  The  Early  Life  of  Wordsworth 

QA  ET  LA 405 

ROMAIN  ROLLAND,  author  of  Jean-Christophe,  &c. 


PIERRE  VILLEY,  Professor  of  French  Literature,  University  of  Caen 

MONTAIGNE  ET  SHAKESPEARE         .*....     417 

HENRI  DE  RfiGNIER,  de  1' Academic  francaise 


CONTENTS  xxiii 


Greek  Minister 



ISIDORO  DEL  LUNGO,  Senator  ;  author  of  Women  of  Florence 


LUIGI  LUZZATTI,  Italian  Minister 

PRO  SHAKESPEARE  !  .         .         .  .        .         .     428 


SHAKESPEARE        .         .         •        > 429 

CINO  CHIARINI,  Professor  of  English  Literature,  Florence 


PAOLO  ORANO,  man  of  letters,  Rome 


JOS6  DE  ARMAS,  Member  of  the  Royal  Spanish  Academy  ;  author  of 
El  Quijote  y  su  £poca 


Spanish  Ambassador 


A.  MAURA,  President  of  the  Royal  Spanish  Academy 

SHAKESPEARE •  f? , :       -. - .  437 

ARMANDO    PAL  AGIO   VALD&S,    Member   of   the   Royal   Spanish 

EL  CIELO  DE  SHAKSPEARE     .         .         .         .         .      .,.-,.      .     439 

C.  SILVA  VILD6SOLA,  South  American  publicist 




HIS  EXCELLENCY  M.  TEXEIRA-GOMES,  Portuguese  Minister 


GEORGE  YOUNG,  M.V.O.,  late  of  the  British  Legation,   Lisbon; 
author  of  Portugal  through  its  Poetry,  &c. 

PORTUGAL  AND  THE  SHAKESPEARE  TERCENTENARY          .        .     449 

HIS   EXCELLENCY   NICOLAS   MI§U,   Envoy   Extraordinary  and 
Roumanian  Minister 


LOUIS  FR&D&RIC  CHOISY,  Professor  of  Comparative  Literature  in 
the  University  of  Geneva 


RENIi  MORAX,  Swiss  poet  and  dramatist 






PAUL  HAMELIUS,  Professor  of  English  Language  and  Literature  in 
the  University  of  Liege 


REN£  DE  CLERCQ,  Flemish  poet 


CYRIEL  BUYSSE,  Flemish  writer 


ALBERT  VERWEY,  Dutch  poet 

GRATO  M'  £  'L  SONNO 467 

W.  G.  C.  BYVANCK,  Librarian  of  the  Royal  Library,  The  Hague 




B.  A.  P.  VAN  DAM,  M.D.,  author  of  William  Shakespeare's  Prosody 
and  Text 

ARE  THERE  INTERPOLATIONS  IN  THE  TEXT  OF  '  HAMLET  '  ?       .     473 

OTTO  JESPERSEN,  Professor  of  English  Philology  at  the  University  of 
Copenhagen  ;  author  of  Growth  and  Structure  of  the  English 
Language,  &c. 



JON  STEFANSSON,  Ph.D.,  Icelandic  scholar 

AN  EDDIC  HOMAGE  TO  WILLIAM  SHAKESPEARE       .        .        .     484 

NIELS  M0LLER,  Danish  poet 


GEORGE  BRANDES,  LL.D.,  Professor ;  Commander  of  the  Orders 
of  Danebrog  and  St.  Olaf,  &c.  ;  author  of  William  Shake 

SHAKESPEARE        .........    490 

KARL  MANTZIUS,  Danish  actor  and  scholar ;  author  of  A  History 
of  Theatrical  Art  in  Ancient  and  Modern  Times 


VALD.  VEDEL,  Professor  of  Literary  History,  Copenhagen 

'  PERSONALITY  '  ELLER  '  IMPERSONALITY  '  .         .         .492 

KARL  WARBURG,  Professor  of  Literary  History  in  the  University 
of  Stockholm 

HAMLET  i  SVERIGE        .         .         .      i-vO      .        .         .         .    495 

C.  COLLIN,  Professor  of  English  Literature  in  the  University  of 

SHAKESPEARE  AND  THE  NORWEGIAN  DRAMA   .      .,»;,      .         .     499 



K.  BALMONT,  Russian  poet  and  scholar  (with  translations  by  NEVILL 

I.  THE  GENIUS  OF  THE  SEEING  HEART      •.        .        .        .    5°6 



MAXIMILIAN  VOLOSHIN,  Russian  poet  (with  translation  by  NEVILL 


*  AMARI ',  Russian  poet 




PAVLE  POPOVlC,  Professor  of  Southern  Slav  Literature  in  the 
University  of  Belgrade;  author  of  A  History  of  Serbian 
Literature,  &c. 


SRGJAN  TUSIC,  Jugoslav  dramatist 


HENRYK  SIENKIEWICZ,  Polish  novelist ;  author  of  Quo  Vadis,  &c. 
(with  translation  by  Miss  LAURENCE  ALMA-TADEMA) 



EINO  LEINO,  Finnish  poet 

SHAKESPEARE-TUNNELMA  (with  English  translation)         .        .    534 

YRJO  HIRN,  Professor  of  Aesthetics  and  Modern  Literature  in  the 
University  of  Helsingfors 


JUHANI  AHO,  Finnish  man  of  letters 


CONTENTS  xxvii 


YUZO  TSUBOUCHI,  Emeritus  Professor  of  English  Literature,  Waseda 
University,  Tokyo ;  translator  of  Shakespeare  into  Japanese 


GONNOSK&  KOMAI,  Japanese  War  Correspondent  and  poet 


LIU  PO  TUAN,  Chinese  poet  (Hong-kong) 


AHMAD  KHAN,  Persian  scholar 


K.  H.  FUNDUKLIAN,  translator  of  Antony  and  Cleopatra,  &c.,  into 


MISS  ZABELLE  C.  BOYAJIAN,  author  of  Yesterc,  a  novel  dealing 
with  Armenian  life,  &c. 


EPILOGUE .         .553 




1.  WILLIAM  SHAKESPEARE.     Print  engraved  by  Martin  Droes- 

hout.  Probably  executed  1622/3.  Elaborated  from  the  Proof. 
From  the  plate  in  the  First  Folio  ....  Frontispiece 

2.  WILLIAM  SHAKESPEARE.    From  the  (coloured)  effigy,  carved 

by  Garret  Johnson  the  Younger,  in  Holy  Trinity  Church, 
Stratford-on-Avon  .  .  .  .  .To  face  p.  4 

3.  WILLIAM  SHAKESPEARE.     (Head  only.)     From  the  earliest 

Proof  (known  as  '  the  Unique  Proof ')  of  the  engraving  by 
Martin  Droeshout,  discovered  by  J.  O.  Halliwell[-Phillipps]  in 
1864,  before  elaboration  for  the  First  Folio.  In  the  possession 
of  Mr.  H.  C.  Folger,  of  New  York.  By  consent  of  the  Trustees 
of  the  Shakespeare  Birthplace.  (Copyright)  .  .  To  face  p.  6 

4.  WILLIAM   SHAKESPEARE.     The  Chandos   Portrait.     In   the 

National  Portrait  Gallery  ....      To  face  p.  8 

5.  WILLIAM    SHAKESPEARE.      (Head    only.)      Painted    by    Sir 

Godfrey  Kneller  in  1693,  from  the  Chandos  Portrait,  for  pre 
sentation  to  John  Dry  den.  In  the  possession  of  the  Earl  Fitz- 
william,  through  whose  courtesy  it  is  here,  for  the  first  time, 
reproduced To  face  p.  10 



6.  PLATE  I  (A).     Hector  dissuaded  from  going  to  battle  by  his 

\\omcnkind  and  by  Priam.  From  a  fragment  of  one  of  a  series 
of  sketches  in  the  Louvre  for  tapestries  representing  the  Siege 
of  Troy. 

PLATE  I  (B).  A  battle  of  Greeks  and  Trojans,  with  Trojan  women 
looking  on  from  the  walls.  From  an  engraving  after  one  of  a 
series  of  tapestries  representing  the  Siege  of  Troy  .  To  face  p.  96 

7.  PLATE  II.    The  sack  of  Troy,  with  the  murder  of  Priam,  the  sacri 

fice  of  Polyxena,  &c.  From  one  of  a  series  of  sketches  in  the 
Louvre  for  tapestries  representing  the  Siege  of  Troy  .  To  face  p.  98 

8.  Bodleian  Aubrey  MS.  8,  fol.  45*    .          ....     To  face  p.  120 

9.  The  Platt  of  Frederick  and  Basilea          .         .         .         .To  face  p.  208 

A    BOOK    OF    HOMAGE    TO 




BRIGHT  baffling  Soul,  least  capturable  of  themes, 
Thou,  who  display 'dst  a  life  of  commonplace, 
Leaving  no  intimate  word  or  personal  trace 
Of  high  design  outside  the  artistry 

Of  thy  penned  dreams, 
Still  shalt  remain  at  heart  unread  eternally. 

Through  human  orbits  thy  discourse  to-day, 
Despite  thy  formal  pilgrimage,  throbs  on 
In  harmonies  that  cow  Oblivion, 
And,  like  the  wind,  with  all-uncared  effect 

Maintain  a  sway 
Not  fore- desired,  in  tracks  unchosen  and  unchecked. 

And  yet,  at  thy  last  breath,  with  mindless  note 
The  borough  clocks  as  usual  tongued  the  hour, 
The  Avon  idled  past  the  garth  and  tower, 
Thy  age  was  published  on  thy  passing-bell 

But  in  due  rote 

With  other  men's  that  year  accorded  a  like  knell. 



And  at  the  strokes  some  townsman  (met,  maybe, 
And  thereon  queried  by  some  squire's  good  dame 
Driving  in  shopward)  may  have  given  thy  name, 
With,  '  Yes,  a  worthy  man  and  well-to-do ; 

Though,  as  for  me, 
I  knew  him  but  by  just  a  neighbour's  nod,  'tis  true. 

'  I'  faith,  few  knew  him  much  here,  save  by  word, 

He  having  elsewhere  led  his  busier  life ; 

Though  to  be  sure  he  left  with  us  his  wife.' 

— *  Ah,  one  of  the  tradesmen's  sons,  I  now  recall  .  .  . 

Witty,  I've  heard  .  .  . 
We  did  not  know  him  .  .  .  Well,  good-day.    Death  comes  to  all.' 

So — like  a  strange  bright-pinioned  bird  we  find 
To  mingle  with  the  barn-door  brood  awhile, 
Then  vanish  from  their  homely  domicile — 
Into  man's  poesy,  we  weet  not  whence, 

Flew  thy  strange  mind, 
Lodged  there  a  radiant  guest,  and  sped  for  ever  thence. 


February  14,  1916. 



*  IT  is  a  great  comfort,  to  my  thinking/  wrote  Charles  Dickens  to 
William  Sandys  the  antiquary,  seventy  years  ago,  *  that  so  little  is  known 
concerning  the  poet.  It  is  a  fine  mystery  ;  and  I  tremble  every  day  lest 
something  should  come  out.  If  he  had  had  a  Boswell,  society  wouldn't 
have  respected  his  grave,  but  would  calmly  have  had  his  skull  in  the 
phrenological  shop-windows/ 

It  is  doubtless  true  enough.  The  curiosity  of  the  ordinary  man, 
intensified  in  the  hero-worshipper,  has  little  respect  for  mystery  and 
still  less  patience  with  it.  The  desire  of  every  thinker,  the  ambition  of 
every  reasoning  and  contemplative  mind,  is  to  draw  aside  the  curtain 
that  shrouds  the  unknown.  The  more  elusive  the  solution  the  more 
ardent  the  quest  :  the  theologist  of  every  age  has  sought  to  probe  the 
nature  and  mystery  of  the  Godhead  Itself. 

To  the  biographer,  as  Carlyle  declared,  an  authentic  portrait  of  his 
subject  is  an  urgent  necessity  :  he  needs  the  facial  testimony  to  examine 
and  cross-examine,  to  ponder,  to  analyse,  to  compare.  The  greatest  of 
those  of  whom  no  genuine  portraits  exist  have  frequently  been  a  tempta 
tion  which  the  intellectual  artist  has  not  sought  to  resist.  Shakespeare, 
however,  is  relatively  of  our  own  day.  The  art  of  portraiture  had 
reached  its  zenith  at  about  the  time  when  he  was  moving  upon  the 
world's  stage,  and  its  practice,  tant  bien  que  mal,  was  already  common 
in  England.  The  two  known  portraits  of  the  actor-poet  which  were 
brought  into  existence  near  the  time  of  his  death  were  the  work  of 
craftsmen  unhappily  but  indifferently  equipped,  and  not  of  poet-artists. 
Whatever  their  skill  in  accurate  draughtsmanship  and  modelling,  they 
lacked  the  power  of  rendering  life,  and  the  sense  of  beauty  was  not  theirs. 

It  is  therefore  not  surprising  that,  in  course  of  time,  people  should 
become  dissatisfied  with  these  matter-of-fact  and  banal  representations, 
so  poorly  executed  by  chisel  and  graver,  despite  the  fact  that  Shake 
speare's  image  had  been  by  them  authoritatively  recorded.  Dissatisfac 
tion  bred  doubt ;  in  some,  repudiation  ;  and  in  the  desire  to  eliminate 



all  grounds  for  scepticism  and  to  establish  or  refute  the  authenticity  of 
the  accepted  portraits,  a  small  phalanx  of  noisy,  over-articulate  de 
votees  clamoured  for  the  opening  of  Shakespeare's  grave  in  order  that 
the  poet's  features  might  be  gazed  upon  and  .  .  .  photographed — if,  as 
was  believed  to  be  likely,  the  Stratford  soil  had  stayed  the  decomposing 
hand  of  Death.  Alternatively,  the  skull  might  be  studied,  measurements 
might  be  taken,  diagrams  and  drawings  made,  whereby  the  portraits 
could  be  tested,  and — had  the  cold  objectivity  of  the  calm  proposal 
found  favour  and  the  request  been  granted — within  a  few  weeks,  we 
may  be  sure,  *  society  would  have  had  his  skull  in  the  phrenological 
shop- windows  '. 

But  the  finer  feeling  of  the  nation  declared  itself  against  so  revolting 
an  experiment  which  had  been  so  strenuously  contended  for  on  both 
sides  of  the  Atlantic.  The  argument  that  similar  inquiries  had  been 
carried  into  effect  at  the  hands  of  the  charnel-house  explorer  in  the 
case  of  Robert  the  Bruce,  Burns,  and  a  score  of  others  not  less  celebrated, 
fell  upon  ears  either  deaf  or  shocked  ;  and  Dickens 's  fear  lest '  something 
should  come  out '  was  set  at  rest,  likely  enough,  for  ever.  The  addi 
tional  proof  that  was  to  silence  cavillers  and  confirm  still  further  the 
confidence  of  the  world  in  the  only  two  portraits  that  have  any  real 
claim  to  truth  and  genuine  likeness  had  to  be  forgone  ;  and  the  effigy 
in  Holy  Trinity  Church  in  Stratford  and  the  print  by  Martin  Droeshout 
were  left  to  stand  unassisted,  as  they  easily  may,  without  corroboration 
dug  up  out  of  the  desecrated  tomb.  Without  any  outrage  of  sentiment 
they  must  justify  themselves  and  vindicate  one  another.  Many  persons 
unfamiliar  with  the  study  of  iconography  and  unversed  in  comparative 
portraiture  may  still  find  difficulty  in  reconciling  some  of  the  more  super 
ficial  characteristics  of  the  two  likenesses  :  that  is  to  say,  the  youthfulness 
as  rendered  in  Droeshout 's  print,  with  the  maturity  presented  by  the  Bust. 

But  how  many  know  these  two  works  as  they  really  are,  or  were 
intended  to  be  ?  How  many  have  had  the  opportunity  of  judging  of 
Shakespeare's  face  as  sculptor  and  engraver,  each  in  his  turn,  represented 
it  ?  Few — very  few  indeed.  For  the  bust  cannot  now  be  seen,  much 
less  judged,  behind  its  coat  of  colour-decoration  which  in  several 
important  respects  contradicts  the  glyptic  forms  ;  and  the  print  as  it 
appears  in  the  First  Folio,  and  as  it  is  known  to  the  world,  is  almost 
a  travesty  of  the  plate  as  Droeshout  originally  left  it. 

Let  us  consider  these  two  portraits,  and  see  how  far  we  should 
recognize  in  them  the  actual  lineaments  of  the  man  Shakespeare  as  he 
lived.  First  as  to  the  Bust. 




In  the  first  place  we  must  dismiss  from  our  recollection  nearly  all 
the  so-called  *  plaster  casts  from  the  original  bust '  from  which  most 
people  derive  their  knowledge  and  receive  their  strongest  impression, 
and  on  which  they  form  their  opinion  concerning  Shakespeare's  head 
and  features — because  the  vast  majority  of  these  objects  are  taken,  not 
from  the  bust  itself,  but  from  mere  copies  of  it  very  inaccurately 
modelled.  We  must  look  at  the  bust  itself,  which  the  younger  Garret 
Johnson  cut. 

When  we  examine  closely  and  with  attention  the  sculptor's  naive 
work,  we  realize  to  our  surprise  that  this  effigy  (which,  although  it 
gazes  with  such  rapt  ineptitude  from  its  niche,  appealed  with  curious 
force  to  Chantrey,  Landor,  Washington  Irving,  and  many  others)  has 
been  fundamentally  modified  both  as  to  forms  and  expression  by  the 
polychrome  (technically  called  *  beautifying  ')  applied  by  a  painter  who 
wilfully  defied  the  intention  of  the  sculptor.  The  painted  eyebrows 
with  their  strongly  arched  sweep  correspond  ill  with  the  carved  indica 
tions  of  them.  The  wellnigh  formless  lips  frame  a  mouth  little  under 
stood,  it  would  seem,  by  the  colourist.  The  full  staring  pupils,  crudely 
painted  in,  are  barely  natural  in  their  doll-like  gaze.  In  all  these  points 
and  more  the  painter's  misrendering  conceals  the  Shakespeare  of  the 
sculptor's  chisel,  roughly  but  honestly  carved. 

Thus  with  its  forms  varied  and  expression  changed,  features  are 
thrown  into  inharmonious  relief,  and  true  dimensions  and  actual  model 
ling  are  gravely  prejudiced.  If  this  we  owe  to  the  original  colouring, 
supposing  it  to  be  unjustified,  hardly  could  we  withhold  our  sympathy 
from  the  much-reviled  Malone  who  in  1793  caused  the  '  beautifying  ' 
to  be  over-painted  with  stone-colour  ;  for  even  those  who  fulminated 
against  his  vandalism  enjoyed,  thanks  to  his  so-called  '  daubing  ',  a  sight 
denied  to  our  generation.  Not  then  did  Shakespeare's  open  mouth 
resolve  itself  into  what  has  been  called  *  a  grin  of  death  ' ;  it  revealed 
the  parted,  speaking  lips  of  one  who  declaimed,  as  an  actor-poet  might, 
the  words  he  had  just  set  down  on  the  paper  at  his  hand  :  a  conception 
as  simply  and  naturally  imagined  as  it  was  clumsily  and  frankly  realized. 

If  we  assume  that  the  present  colours  faithfully  reproduce  those 
which  were  from  the  first  employed,  in  order  to  impart  an  effect  of 
life,  it  may  be  deduced  that  the  chromatic  scheme  was  introduced  with 
the  view  of  securing  a  truer  resemblance  than  the  sculptor  had  achieved. 
What  if  the  family  and  friends  of  the  departed  poet,  dissatisfied  with 
young  Garret  Johnson's  performance,  had  acted  on  his  advice  that 
a  *  face-painter '  should  be  called  in — as  was  a  common  practice — to  give 


the  final  touch  of  life  which  he  himself  had  missed  ?  The  colourist's  duty 
would  be  to  bring  the  head  into  truer  relation  with  the  facts  as  these 
were  explained  to  him.  But,  even  then,  it  must  be  remembered  that  the 
present  colouring  is  a  relatively  modern  reconstitution  of  that  of  1748-9, 
before  which  time  the  painting  was  more  perfect,  according  to  Halliwell- 
Phillipps,  or  contrarily,  according  to  Malone,  had  not  ever  defaced 
the  plain  stone  of  the  bust.  An  element  of  uncertainty  on  this  point 
and  on  the  value  of  the  chromatic  elements  of  the  portrait  must  neces 
sarily  exist ;  yet  as  to  the  truth  of  the  main  essentials  of  the  sculptured 
image  no  doubt  can  be  entertained.  For  when  all  is  said  we  must  recog 
nize  here,  as  in  the  Droeshout  print,  the  particularity  of  paramount 
importance,  the  outstanding  characteristic  which  is  the  unquestionable 
test  and  touchstone  of  every  portrait  of  the  poet — the  upright  forehead, 
the  dome-like  skull,  which  Professor  Arthur  Keith  has  shown  to  be 
the  *  round  head  '  of  the  Bronze  Age — identified  as  the  physical  mark 
of  the  true  Celt  (as  Europe  understands  the  term)  and  the  cranial 
symbol  of  the  world's  finest  artists  and  most  inspired  among  the  poets 
and  men  of  imagination. 

Nor,  in  similar  fashion,  can  the  full  significance  of  Martin  Droes- 
hout's  print  be  wholly  understood,  even  by  those  who  study  it  in  the 
First  Folio,  because  it  is  only  in  the  earliest  proof  state  that  the  head  of 
Shakespeare  can  be  rightly  and  fully  judged.  For  there  the  poet  is 
revealed,  it  may  safely  be  inferred,  as  he  was  in  early  manhood.  It  is 
a  face  we  can  accept — the  visage  of  one  little  more  than  a  youth,  with 
a  slight  downy  moustache,  a  small  lip-beard,  a  strong  chin  devoid  of 
growth,  and  fair  eyebrows  set  low  on  the  orbital  ridges  of  the  frontal 
bone.  The  forehead  is  bald,  perhaps  prematurely,  perhaps  deliberately 
shaved,  either  to  conform  to  the  sometime  fashion  which  Hentzner's 
Elizabethan  records  tell  of,  or  else  for  greater  ease  in  playing  venerable 
characters  such  as  old  Adam,  Kno'well,  and  the  like — such  parts,  indeed, 
as  young  players  of  the  period  were  commonly  entrusted  with  :  when 
even  boy-actors,  such  as  the  famous  Pavy,  might  achieve  a  great 
reputation  by  their  rendering  of  them.  In  any  case,  it  is  *  a  noble 
front',  the  full  and  lofty  dome  which  the  Bronze  Age  had  brought  here 
from  the  Continent,  the  form  that  housed  brains  of  poetic  genius, 
capable  of  the  most  exalted  beauty  of  conception.  So  much,  indeed, 
has  modern  anthropology  established.  As  for  the  frank  young  English 
face- — the  calm  placidity  of  its  observant  gaze,  the  delicate  firmness  of 
features  and  expression,  the  characteristic  aspect  of  large  sympathy  held 


in  control  by  critical  judgement,  the  strong  reserve  of  individuality — 
these  have  survived,  in  spite  of  all,  the  deficiencies  of  the  young 
Droeshout's  art,  of  his  stiffness  of  rendering,  and  his  still  inexperienced 
hand.  We  have  here,  then,  Shakespeare  of  the  Sonnets  and  of  Love's 
Labour 's  Lost  rather  than  Shakespeare  of  the  Tragedies. 

Not  elsewhere,  it  may  be  believed,  do  we  come  so  close  to  the  living 
Man  of  Stratford  as  in  the  earliest  proof  of  the  print,  which  once  be 
longed  to  Halliwell-Phillipps  but  which  years  ago,  alas,  was  acquired  in 
the  United  States.  Not  even  in  the  early  proof  in  the  Bodleian  Library 
do  we  see  him  with  anything  like  such  vivid  appearance  of  truth,  because 
not  only  is  that  a  darker,  heavier  impression,  but  because  it  is  besides 
a  later  *  state  '  of  the  plate.  In  this  retouched  condition  we  recognize 
in  the  worked-up  forehead  the  beginnings  of  that  *  horrible  hydro- 
cephalous  development ',  as  Mr.  Arthur  Benson  called  it,  which  in  the 
ordinary  print  as  seen  in  the  First  Folio  (and  grossly  exaggerated  in  the 
Fourth)  has  struck  a  chill  sentiment  of  revolt  into  the  hearts  of  genera 
tions  of  Shakespeare-lovers.  In  the  manifest  effort  to  add  an  appear 
ance  of  advancing  years  to  what  had  been  a  picture  of  ripe  adolescence, 
the  inexperienced  engraver  impaired  his  plate  and  produced  a  portrait 
almost  as  wooden  as  the  painted  bust.  The  broad,  massive  fore 
head,  with  the  hair  growing  naturally  from  the  scalp,  has  here  developed 
a  defiant  bulbousness  and  a  shape  tending  towards  the  conical,  with  locks 
sprouting  with  strange  suddenness,  wig-like  and  artificial,  from  its  side. 
The  re-formed  and  altered  eyebrows,  the  darkened  pupils  which  for 
merly  were  fair,  the  distressing  bagginess  accentuated  under  the  eyes, 
the  enlarged  moustache  smudging  the  upper  lip  to  the  confines  of  the 
cheeks,  the  two-days'  stubble  added  to  the  chin,  the  over-emphasized 
line  marking  the  division  of  jaw  and  neck,  the  forced  lights  and  shadows 
with  consequent  destruction  of  harmony  and  breadth  of  illumination — 
these  are  further  defects  in  the  portrait  by  which  Droeshout  has  made 
Shakespeare  known  to  all  the  world.  They  divest  the  portrait  most 
grievously  of  the  appearance  of  life  and  of  the  largeness  of  nature  which 
are  such  striking  qualities  in  the  plate  as  the  engraver  first  completed 
and  '  proved '  it.  Nevertheless,  and  in  spite  of  all,  the  eye  of  ordinary 
discernment  can  penetrate  this  screen  of  errors,  and  through  the  short 
comings  of  the  artist  recognize  the  life  and  nature  which,  with  but 
indifferent  success  it  is  true,  he  has  sought  to  realize  and  interpret. 

Nevertheless,  to  the  unprejudiced  beholder,  this  uncouth  print, 
with  all  its  imperfections — *  lamentable ',  as  Walpole  pronounced  it, 
as  a  work  of  art — bears  in  its  delineation  the  unmistakable  stamp  of 


truth.  Ver  Huell,1  the  enthusiastic  biographer  and  critic  of  Houbraken 
and  the  extoller  of  his  freely-rendered  engraving— the  most  popular  of 
all  the  renderings — of  the  Chandos  portrait  of  Shakespeare,  admits  that 
he  was  carried  away  by  Droeshout's  plate  and  was  left  cold  by  Hou 
braken  's  masterpiece  of  the  burin.  *  The  head  is  fine/  says  he,  in  his 
estimate  of  the  Dutchman's  prodigious  performance,  '  I  might  almost 
say  too  fine,  and  I  greatly  prefer  to  this  idealized  bust-piece  Martin 
Droeshout's  plate.  There,  indeed,  we  see  the  lineaments  which  so  well 
realize  the  author  of  Romeo  not  less  than  of  Julius  Caesar.  What 
nobility  in  the  forehead  ! — with  what  feeling  has  the  artist  rendered 
the  pensive  and  penetrating  expression  of  the  eyes  and  the  gentle  irony 
of  a  smile  that  is  softened  by  the  sweetness  of  his  soul !  ' 

Can  we  doubt  that  it  was  for  its  general  truth  that  the  portrait 
was  selected  and  published  in  the  great  Folio  in  spite  of  the  artlessness 
of  the  art,  the  stiffness  of  the  pose,  and  the  hardness  of  the  execution  ? 
After  all,  there  was  no  absolute  necessity  for  the  inclusion  of  a  portrait 
at  all.  There  was  even  available  (if  the  claims  made  on  its  behalf 
could  be  accepted)  the  infinitely  more  romantic,  more  artistic,  Italianate 
portrait  which  we  call  the  Chandos.  What  merit  other  than  that 
of  invaluable  authenticity  could  have  constrained  Shakespeare's 
associates  and  friends  to  preface  his  immortal  works,  which  they  were 
about  to  give  to  the  world  in  so  impressive  a  form,  with  an  image  so 
indifferently  rendered — an  image  clearly  based  on  an  original  of  the 
Hilliard  or  early  Zuccaro  type,  almost  c  primitive  '  in  manner  ?  Surely 
the  only  motive  and  the  sole  justification  for  the  adoption  of  such  a 
plate  was  the  recognized  genuineness  and  authority  of  the  record. 

Moreover,  if  we  look  critically  at  the  two  portraits — the  one  put 
forth  by  the  poet's  admiring  friends  and  fellow  workers,  and  the  other 
by  his  mourning  family  and  fellow  townsmen — we  find  that  in 
their  main  essentials  they  are  in  substantial  agreement  and  therefore 
they  corroborate  one  another.  We  must,  of  course,  bear  in  mind  the 
widely  different  circumstances  attendant  on  the  production  of  these 
portraits  and  the  varied  details  characteristic  of  them  : — the  difference 
of  period — how  the  one  portrait  represents  the  sitter  in  his  early  prime, 
and  the  other  at  the  time  of  his  death  ;  the  difference  of  material — how 
the  one  is  sculptured  roughly  with  the  chisel  in  stone  and  intended  to 
be  viewed  at  a  distance,  the  other  cut  in  metal  by  the  graver,  to  be 
printed  on  paper  and  scrutinized  from  a  few  inches  away  ;  the  difference 
of  personality  and  outlook  of  the  artists — men  of  different  craft,  of 
1  Jacobtis  Houbraken  et  son  ceuvre,  par  A.  Ver  Hiiell,  1875. 


different  individuality,  and  of  difference  in  artistic  conception  which 
they  brought  to  their  different  tasks.  Their  sole  personal  points  of 
contact  were  that  they  shared  weakness  in  technique  and  accomplish 
ment  and  that  they  were  called  to  their  work  without  having  the 
inestimable  advantage  of  sittings  from  the  living  model.  We  see  in 
these  two  works,  notwithstanding  undoubted  imperfections,  the  inter- 
confirmation  of  the  great  upright  cranium,  the  straight  nose,  the  large 
wide-open  eyes,  even  the  mode,  retained  by  the  poet  throughout  his 
life,  of  the  moustache  brushed  upward  and  the  mass  of  hair  curling 
heavily  over  the  ears.  These  two  representations,  then,  support  one 
another  in  their  main  essentials,  in  much  the  same  manner  and  degree 
as  Chantrey's  bust  and  Raeburn's  painted  portrait  of  Sir  Walter  Scott 
confirm  without  exactly  resembling  one  another,  or,  say,  Nollekens's 
bust  and  Reynolds 's  painting  of  Laurence  Sterne. 

However  great,  therefore,  the  talent  of  artists  may  be,  a  painter's 
portrait  and  a  sculptor's  bust  are  rarely  in  exact  agreement  save  in  the 
salient  items  of  resemblance,  especially  when  years  have  elapsed  between 
the  production  of  the  two  likenesses.  This  is  the  more  marked  when 
unskilled  hands  have  been  at  work — most  marked  of  all  when  the  por 
traitists  have  been  called  upon  to  bring  into  existence  a  posthumous 
likeness.  When,  in  the  same  art,  we  find  two  painters  such  as  Nasmyth 
and  Raeburn  producing  portraits  of  Robert  Burns,  at  different  ages,  it 
is  true,  but  so  dissimilar  that  few  persons  at  the  first  glance,  or  even  at 
the  second,  would  assert  that  the  two  pictures  are  supposed  to  represent 
one  and  the  same  man — we  cannot  be  surprised  that  the  Stratford  bust 
and  the  Droeshout  plate  confirm  one  another  mainly  on  points  of 
major  importance  and  seem  to  differ  only  in  superficial  details  and 

There  is  a  touch  of  absurdity,  or  at  least  of  oddness,  in  the  well- 
nigh  universal  predilection  displayed  in  favour  of  the  Chandos  portrait. 
That  the  majority  should  select  for  special  adulation  this  rather  swarthy 
face  of  foreign  aspect,  mainly  in  virtue  of  its  relatively  picturesque  and 
romantic  guise,  is  perhaps  not  wholly  surprising  in  a  majority. 
Moreover,  it  has  the  advantage  over  the  two  authentic  portraits  in 
that  it  represents  an  obviously  living  man  humanly  and  naturally 
represented  upon  canvas.  Even  Burger  was  impressed  by  its  '  refine 
ment  and  melancholy  '  in  spite  of  its  lack  of  expression,  and  as  a 
portrait  he  held  it  to  be  a  pearl  beyond  price.  But  he,  like  the 
majority  (who  have  called  for  at  least  a  dozen  reproductions  of  this 


portrait  for  each  of  those  of  truer  value),  took  it  blindly  for  granted 
that  this  placid,  sombre,  and  rather  weak-willed,  amiable  personage 
really  pictures  our  English  Shakespeare  of  pure  midland  stock. 

It  is  nothing  to  them,  or  very  little,  that  the  early  history  of  this 
painting  is  more  than  suspect,  and  that  the  traditions  woven  round  it 
as  to  origin  and  early  ownership  cannot  withstand  the  test  of  strict 
investigation.  The  fact  that  demonstrably  false  witness  has  been 
borne  as  to  the  picture's  source,  and  that  fiction  mars  the  tracing  of  its 
early  passage  from  hand  to  hand — that  the  chain  of  evidence  comprises 
links  which  are  not  merely  lamentably  weak  but  which  are  sometimes 
found  to  be  not  really  links  at  all — has  affected  little,  or  scarcely  at  all, 
the  popularity  of  the  portrait.  Too  often  the  subject  of  grotesque  per 
versions  at  the  hands  of  engravers  reckless  and  indifferent  to  truth  and 
character,  it  has  conquered  the  world,  spreading  in  every  land  the 
queerest  notion  of  the  type  of  English  manhood. 

This  is  not  the  occasion  on  which  to  enter  any  more  closely  than 
has  here  been  done  into  the  validity  of  the  claims  on  public  confidence 
of  the  Chandos  portrait ;  but  the  picture  cannot  be  ignored,  if  only  for 
the  reason  that  the  Chandos  Shakespeare  is  undeniably  the  Shakespeare 
recognized  by  all  men.  It  was  even  published  in  the  form  of  engraving 
by  the  Shakespeare  Society  itself.  The  story  that  it  belonged  to  D'Ave- 
nant  (who,  we  are  told,  for  the  sake  of  his  personal  aggrandizement 
and  self-conceit,  claimed  blood-kinship  with  his  poet-godfather),  has 
gone  for  much.  The  knowledge  that  Sir  Godfrey  Kneller  made  an 
impressive  copy  of  it  at  the  time  when  it  was  Betterton's,  has  gone  for 
a  good  deal  more.  For  it  may  well  be  assumed  that  Kneller,  quintes 
sence  of  vanity  as  he  was,  would  scarcely  have  demeaned  his  genius, 
of  which  he  entertained  so  fantastic  an  opinion,  by  copying  a  mere 
fanciful  picture  which,  without  authenticity  to  justify  it,  could  but  dis 
honour  his  brush.  Nor  presumably  would  Dryden  have  prized  it  as 
he  did — prized  it  as  Jonson  loved  Shakespeare,  *  on  this  side  idolatry  ' 
— nor  would  he  have  apostrophized  it  with  such  an  emphasis  of  rapture 
and  admiration,  had  he  known  it  for  a  copy  of  doubtful  value.  There 
is  here,  at  least,  sufficient  evidence  to  show  that  not  more  than  five-and- 
seventy  years  after  Shakespeare's  death  the  Chandos  portrait  was  already 
held  in  high  esteem  and  was  respected  as  a  record  of  presumably 
unchallenged  truth. 

The  reproduction  in  this  Book  of  Homage  of  Kneller 's  famous 
picture,  now  for  the  first  time  set  before  the  public  since  it  was  painted 

Jleao from,  dir  bcdfrtuJ^ncUfr'j  •copy' <r£  tfL(> 
Lt  Iza^Li 


two  hundred  and  twenty-three  years  ago  (in  1693),  will  certainly  be 
welcomed  as  a  matter  of  singular  interest  by  all  who  unite  to-day  in 
offering  tribute  to  Shakespeare's  genius.  To  the  owner  of  it,  the  Earl 
Fitzwilliam,  who  some  years  ago  courteously  permitted  me  to  have 
the  picture  photographed,  are  due  our  thanks  for  the  gratification  with 
which  the  publication  will  be  received. 

The  portrait  is  much  larger  than  the  Chandos  ;  it  is,  indeed,  a  full 
half-length.  The  head  seems,  by  its  undoubted  nobility,  to  justify 
Dry  den's  paean  of  praise  and  veneration  in  that  Fourteenth  Epistle  of 
1694  with  which  he  acknowledged  and  rewarded  the  painter's  offering, 
in  a  masterpiece  of  super-flattery  nicely  adjusted  to  Kneller's  vast 
powers  of  consumption.  Who  does  not  remember  his  lines  ? — 

4  Shakespear,  thy  Gift,  I  place  before  my  sight ; 
With  awe,  I  ask  his  Blessing  ere  I  write ; 
With  Reverence  look  on  his  Majestick  Face ; 
Proud  to  be  less,  tho'  of  his  Godlike  Race. 
His  Soul  Inspires  me,  while  thy  Praise  I  write, 
And  I,  like  Teucer,  under  Ajax  fight.' 

The  face,  which  so  far  departs  from  that  of  the  Chandos  portrait 
as  to  add  a  dignity,  almost  a  majesty  (as  Dryden  truly  says),  quite 
unknown  to  the  parent-picture,  is  surely  a  conception  not  unworthy 
to  represent  the  creator  of  the  Plays  and  Poems.  It  is  not  surprising 
that  it  should  have  fired  John  Dry  den's  imagination,  still  less  that  it 
should  appeal  with  equal  force  to  ours,  seeing  that  the  painter  has 
plainly  sought  to  improve  the  forms  and  to  modify  the  Latin  character 
of  the  original,  in  the  light  of  Droeshout's  print. 

It  is  true  that  the  skull  is  not  the  skull  figured  by  the  Stratford  bust 
and  in  the  Folio  print.  Yet  the  forehead  is  now  much  more  upright 
than  in  the  Chandos  picture,  even  though  it  is  not  yet  perpen 
dicular  enough  ;  the  high  cheek-bones  have  been  lowered  and  brought 
inwards,  whereby  the  face  is  become  narrower  and  the  corresponding 
projection  of  the  contour  reduced  ;  the  nose  is  thinner  and  less  aquiline, 
and  the  nostrils  more  refined  in  modelling,  so  that  the  whole  feature 
approximates  far  more  to  that  in  the  print.  On  the  other  hand,  the 
cheeks  have  been  hollowed  and  the  mouth  straightened,  while  the  falling 
moustache  belies  the  usual  mode  affected  by  the  Poet  and  thus  defies 
the  tradition  of  the  three  portraits  which  could  have  served  for  guidance. 
Kneller  then  asserts  himself ;  he  imparts  to  the  eyes  a  look  of  intelli 
gence  and  elevated  thought,  and  invests  the  whole  with  a  general  air 
of  authority  lamentably  absent  from  the  original.  The  result,  in  spite 


of  all  discrepancies,  is  a  brave  and  skilful  attempt,  felicitously  realized, 
the  success  made  possible  by  consummate  art,  to  render  the  Chandos 
portrait  acceptable  to  the  adherents  of  the  more  authoritative  likeness 
of  the  Folio,  and  to  conciliate,  as  well  as  art  could  do  it,  the  objections 
of  the  critical.  It  is  clearly  a  copy  from  this  picture  which  Ranelagh 
Barret  made  for  Edward  Capell — the  portrait  which  generations  of 
men  have  seen  in  the  Library  of  Trinity  College,  Cambridge,  and  have 
criticized  for  its  heavy-handed  divarications  from  the  Chandos  original. 

Here,  then,  was  expressed  in  the  sincerest  and  most  reverential 
manner  possible  to  them,  the  homage  paid  severally  by  English  Poetry 
and  foreign  Art  of  the  seventeenth  century  to  Shakespeare's  memory 
in  Shakespeare's  person.  In  the  spirit  of  the  superlative  admiration 
and  esteem  thus  conveyed  in  Shakespeare's  own  century,  we  of  the 
present,  on  the  three  hundredth  anniversary  of  the  day  when  the 
poet  of  all  time  lay  down  and  slept,  approach  the  altar  of  the  world's 
gratitude  and  bring  our  offering  of  thanks  and  praise.  We  may  muse 
upon  his  personality  and  picture  to  ourselves  what  manner  of  man  was 
he  in  outward  physical  aspect.  We  can  no  longer  hope  to  discover  a 
new  true  portrait  of  him  such  as  will  confirm  or  correct  the  true  authori 
tative  likenesses  we  already  have.  With  these  we  may  rest  content, 
for  we  recognize  in  their  main  indications  the  lineaments  of  the  face 
which  met  the  gaze  of  his  own  day,  and  the  form  of  the  massive  head 
that  gave  lodging  to  the  sovereign  brain,  mightiest  in  powers  of  humanity 
and  art,  that  has  enriched  and  ennobled  the  modern  world. 



W.S.  1564-1616 

WHAT  like  wert  thou,  O  Riddle  of  our  race, 
Whose  steadfast  eye  the  mind  of  man  could  see, 

And,  by  excess  of  intuition,  trace 
In  the  rude  germ  its  full  maturity  ? 

Thou,  '  of  imagination  all  compact ', 
Alone  among  thy  fellows,  could 'st  ally 

The  thought  and  word,  the  impulse  and  the  act, 
Cause  and  effect,  unerringly.    But  why  ? 

Who  shall  make  answer  ?     To  our  ken  a  shade, 
Thou — for  whom  souls  lay  open — art  as  dark 

As  shapeless  phantoms  of  the  night  that  fade 
With  daybreak  and  the  singing  of  the  lark. 

Men  may  explore  thy  Secret  still,  yet  thou, 
Serene,  unsearchable,  above  them  all, 

Look'st  down,  as  from  some  lofty  mountain-brow, 
And  art  thyself  thine  own  Memorial. 




Fresh  from  letters  of  Shakespearian  friends,  and  sadly  wondering  how 
in  this  War  of  Nations  our  immortal  Poet  would  come  to  his  meed  of  honour, 
after  three  hundred  years  of  mission  over  the  globe,  I  chanced  to  raise  my 
eyes  to  my  library  wall,  whereon  there  hangs  the  Arundel  copy  of  RaphaeVs 
fresco  of  Parnassus  in  the  Stanza  of  the  Vatican.  There  Apollo  with  his 
lyre  holds  a  conclave  of  the  Muses,  round  whom  are  gathered  the  poets  of  all 
ages,  whilst  blind  old  Homer  chants  the  Wrath  of  Achilles  and  the  Burial 
of  Hector,  his  brother  Bards  standing  wrapt  in  admiration  and  awe. 

So  musing  and  wandering  in  thought,  I  fell  asleep  in  my  easy  chair  and 
dreamed.  And  this  was  my  Dream. 


THE  Muse  Melpomene,  with  a  crown  of  vine-leaves  holding  a  tragic 
mask,  seemed  enthroned  on  the  sacred  Mount  of  Inspiration.  Beside 
her  was  Thaleia,  having  a  comic  mask  and  a  wreath  of  ivy  :  both  presided 
at  the  altar  on  which  I  saw  a  tripod  of  gold  inscribed  TW  v^io-rca. 

Around  and  below  the  Muses  was  gathered  a  throng,  whose  noble 
countenances  seemed  to  be  those  of  familiar  friends,  and  their  stately 
robes  denoted  various  races,  manners,  and  ages.  All  seemed  to  be 
leading  towards  the  altar,  that  he  might  receive  the  tripod,  one  whom 
I  recognized  at  once  by  his  lofty  forehead,  trim  beard,  flowing  locks,  and 
his  air  of  serene  thought.  He  seemed  to  shrink  from  their  attentions, 
bewildered  almost  by  their  praises,  as  one  hardly  worthy  of  such  a  prize. 

The  Muse  with  a  gesture  was  inviting  those  around  her  to  express 
their  suffrages  in  order  that  by  general  consent  she  might  award  the 
honour  to  the  most  fit.  She  pointed  first  to  a  noble  old  man  with  bald 
head  and  venerable  beard,  deep  sad  eyes,  and  the  shrunken  limbs  of 
a  mighty  veteran  in  arms.  The  aged  warrior  stood  forth,  and  I  heard 


his  solemn  voice  that  rang  through  the  assembly  as  if  he  had  been  Isaiah 
the  son  of  Amoz  calling  out  to  the  people  of  Zion. 

*  Fair  Goddess/  he  said,  *  the  golden  tripod  is  his  of  right,  in  these 
latter  days  of  wildly-whirring  poesy.    The  old  order  changeth.    In  very 
truth  and  no  longer  in  fable,  the  whole  earth  reels  and  quakes.     In  old 
times  a  tragedy  was  an  act  of  public  worship.     We  gave  the  people 
Hymns  of  Valour  and  Psalms  of  contrition  for  sin.    But  the  ancient 
Gods  and  Heroes  of  seven- foot  stature  whom  we  knew  are  no  more. 
To-day  the  new  generations  have  thoughts  and  pleasures,  knowledge 
and  interests,  that  we  old  soldiers  could  not  share  and  are  ready  to  cast 
aside.    I  have  learnt  that  ours  was  but  a  petty  corner  of  the  earth  :  our 
fears,  our  hopes,  our  joys,  our  loves  never  roamed  over  the  vast  world 
they  tell  me  is  now  open  to  men — a  world  of  which  I  had  but  some  dim 
vision,  but  enough  to  revolt  my  very  soul.    I  am  too  old  to  learn  this  new 
way.    I  had  no  heart  to  mingle  Beauty  and  Mirth  with  the  catastrophes 
of  Fate  and  the  agonies  of  the  Soul  which  swept  through  my  brain. 
Let  me  go  back  to  my  lonely  seat,  where  I  rest  musing  on  the  glories 
and  the  faith  of  Hellas.    The  prizes  of  life  are  for  those  who  are  happy 
and  who  are  young.' 

Then  there  stepped  up  to  him  the  most  beautiful  and  the  most 
graceful  of  elders,  having  the  sweetest  voice  ever  uttered  by  man. 

*  We  too  ',  he  said,  *  yield  willingly  the  prize  of  tragedy  to  this  youth. 
Our  ancient  world  is  past.     We  love  to  recall  how  beautiful  it  was.     We 
hope  they  now  enjoy  a  world  as  beautiful  and  as  sunlit  as  was  our  rare 
City  of  the  violet  crown.    As  our  glorious  Chief  has  said,  we  who  lived 
to  celebrate  our  radiant  Athene  could  ill  bear  the  tumultuous  trumpet- 
ings,  of  which  we  catch  faint  echoes  in  our  Islands  of  the  Blessed.     If 
we  ever  sought  to  touch  the  deepest  nerves  of  sympathetic  hearts  by 
tales  of  agony  and  guilt,  we  would  ever  relieve  the  tension  at  intervals 
with  soft  melodies  and  ethereal  raptures.     We  are  told  now  of  genera 
tions  of  men  built  of  sterner  mould,  who  have  no  need  of  the  rest  given 
by  choral  visions  of  pure  delight.    They  say  they  have  other  kinds  of  rest 
and  of  relief ;   nor  do  they  mind  if  Pindaric  rhapsodies  are  thrust  into 
the  midst  of  hot  action  and  visible  horrors.    To  us  Beauty,  Dignity,  and 
Grace  were  Divine  gifts  too  precious  to  be  forborne  for  an  hour,  even 
in  the  midst  of  the  most  tragic  peripeteia.    Let  us  trust  these  will  never 
be  forgotten  in  the  multitudinous  blare  of  Modern  Art.' 

*  Why  ! '  called  out  aloud  a  nobly  bearded  Chief  who  thrust  himself 
boldly  before  the  elder  pair,  *  Did  I  not  tell  you  that  the  "  grand  air  >: 
and  obsolete  sublimities  would  weary  any  public  really  up-to-date  ? 


I  was  myself  a  prophet  of  "  modernity  ",  of  the  "  new  woman  ",  of  the 
"  real  man  ".  That  youth  from  the  Island  of  the  West  only  followed 
my  lead  of  realism  and  of  romance.  I  vote  for  him,  for  he  quite  freed 
the  world  of  your  Marathonian  conventions  and  superstitious  mysteries.' 

*  Ah  !  my  old  anarchist  friend/  cried  out  a  jovial  reveller  who  had 
been  making  mouths  at  the  last  speaker  behind  a  comic  mask,  '  Yes  ! 
you  opened  new  ways  indeed  ;   but  you  have  yet  to  prove  that  it  was 
opened  in  the  right  way.    To  make  the  Gods  chop  logic  and  to  turn 
heroes  into  street  beggars  would  vulgarize,  not  modernize,  Art.    I  too 
vote  for  the  young  one,  who  still  seems  unaware  how  close  he  is  to  some 
old  friends.    His  virago  Queen  might  kill  her  Sovereign  but  not  her 
own  babies,  nor  did  she  mount  up  off  the  stage  to  heaven  in  a  dragon  car. 
And  when  he  brought  on  a  veteran  King  in  rags,  the  poor  old  man  was 
not  a  disguised  Hero  but  stark  mad,  and  yet  withal  he  felt  himself  to  be  — 
and  he  looked  it  —  every  inch  a  King.    There  was  nothing  sordid  in  his 

*  Again,  gracious  Ladies,  let  me  add  that  our  friend  here  wears  his 
comic  wreath  just  as  well  as  his  tragic  wreath.     None  of  us  old  fellows 
ever  pretended  to  wear  both.    He  alone  has  mingled  both  :   he  made 
Mirth  and  Terror  —  Fantasy  and  Reality  —  join  in  one  irresistible  dance 
of  glorious  life.    I  never  tried  my  hand  at  Terror  or  Pity,  just  as  old 
Marathon  there  never  touched  the  lyre  of  Mirth  or  the  scourge  of  Satire. 
Our  candidate  for  the  supreme  prize  joined  Awe  and  Loveliness,  Mirth 
and  Horror,  Fun  and  Fantasy  ;  making  both  embrace  to  the  begetting 
of  a  radiant  progeny  of  immortal  sons  and  daughters  that  shall  outlive 
Time.    Him,  O  ye  divine  mistresses  of  the  Mount  of  Inspiration, 
O  ye  bards  of  fame  and  name  —  him  I  proclaim  to  be  in  truth  — 

'  Euge  !  Optime  !  '  —  called  out  an  Imperial  Roman  in  his  toga 
marked  with  a  broad  purple  band,  looking  for  all  the  world  like  a  Nero 
in  melodrama  ;  '  surely,  the  gentle  youth  only  adopted  and  developed 
my  scheme  of  Art.  They  often  tell  me  that  I  was  too  fond  of  violence, 
of  blood,  of  stage  surprises  ;  that  I  relied  too  much  on  oratory, 
machinery,  and  ghosts.  Ah  !  sweet  Goddesses  of  a  gentler  race,  you, 
I  trust,  never  saw  a  Roman  tribunal  nor  an  amphitheatre,  nor  ever  heard 
a  Roman  mob  yell  over  a  hecatomb  of  gladiators.  I  only  gave  them  what 
they  loved.  Our  young  friend's  "  general  "  public  would  have  blood 
too  —  enjoyed  a  stage  heaped  with  corpses,  and  I  dare  say  forced  him  to 
show  them  tortures,  monsters,  and  ghosts  enough.  He  had  to  do  what 
I  did  to  please  them  rather  than  myself.  And  he  used,  as  so  many 


other  later  poets  did,  not  a  few  of  the  inventions  they  all  borrowed 
from  me.' 

Now  here  I  noticed  a  group  of  poets  standing  together  and  quite 
apart,  whose  elaborate  costumes  and  air  of  superior  refinement  seemed 
to  mark  them  out  as  masters  of  some  special  culture.  Two  of  them  had 
a  mien  of  almost  religious  solemnity,  whilst  two  others  seemed  to  beam 
with  keen  wit  and  native  humour.  With  the  measured  cadences  of 
a  speech  of  subtle  modulation  and  an  air  of  studious  courtesy,  the 
younger  of  the  foremost  pair  stood  forth  and  spoke  thus. 

'  Our  humble  obeisance  to  the  August  Ladies  who  so  graciously 
preside  over  us  to-day  !  In  our  time  we  sought  to  maintain  in  all  things 
the  superb  manner  of  the  Grand  Monarch  we  served  and  of  the  elegant 
society  whose  favour  we  enjoyed.  Even  in  the  hour  of  deepest  passion, 
we  felt  that  deportment  must  not  be  forgotten.  High  Art  means  tone, 
a  harmony  of  colour,  just  balance  of  values,  imperturbable  self-restraint. 
We  hear  that  in  the  new  age  these  essentials  have  been  too  little  prized. 
Alas  !  we  know  that  our  ancient  dynasty  is  no  more.  Republicans  and 
heretics  have  it  all  their  own  way.  A  new  world,  they  cry,  demands  a 
new  Art.  Be  it  so  !  We  shall  not  dispute  their  claim.  Culture  has  its 
own  world  still :  and  there  it  has  more  crowns  than  it  can  wear  with 
grace  and  ease  in  an  age  of  tumult  and  change.' 

'  There  is  no  need  to  retire/  called  out  a  rasping  voice  behind  the 
last  speaker,  and  I  saw  one  thrust  himself  forward,  one  whose  curled 
wig,  lace  frill  and  ruffles,  eye  of  hawk  and  biting  lips  seem  the  embodi 
ment  of  an  entire  age.  *  The  ancients  can  never  be  dethroned,'  he 
cried ;  '  good  manners,  sense,  truth,  realities  can  never  be  displaced  by 
extravagance,  brutalities,  and  the  ravings  of  genius  run  mad.' 

Then  I  saw  the  last  speaker  roughly  pulled  back  by  a  passionate 
orator  with  the  voice  of  a  sea-captain  on  his  quarter-deck  in  a  gale. 
He  shouted  out :  *  Romance,  Nature,  Passion  rule  this  age  :  the  fetters 
of  old  times  are  broken  :  Democracy  has  triumphed  :  and  the  life  of 
democrats  is  cast  in  a  world  of  variety,  tumult,  and  spasm.  All  hail  to 
our  immortal  master,  who  shows  us  humanity  freed  from  the  bonds  of 
antique  superstition  ! ' 

I  saw  too  a  venerable  poet  in  a  Spanish  cloak  of  the  Renascence, 
whose  towering  front,  pointed  beard,  and  flowing  locks  might  recall  to 
us  our  own  poet  had  he  lived  to  reach  some  eighty  years.  He  stood 
apart,  spoke  low,  but  he  beamed  a  look  of  agreement  and  welcome. 
When  appealed  to  by  others  for  his  vote,  he  said  simply  :  *  I  too  accept 
your  verdict,  though  I  belong  to  a  different  world  of  thought,  of  manners, 



and  of  faith.  Those  whom  I  knew,  they  who  knew  me,  had  ways  of 
their  own,  their  own  ideals  to  worship,  their  own  honour  to  guard. 
It  was  to  glorify  these  that  I  laboured.  There  is  room  for  us 
all,  if  each  of  us  in  truth  holds  fast  to  himself,  his  people,  and  his 

Little  too  was  said  by  another  whose  Roman  features  I  could  not 
forget,  having  seen  them  carved  in  marble  on  his  tomb  in  Santa  Croce. 
'  The  world  has  passed  on  far  beyond  me  and  the  heroes  and  demigods 
with  whom  I  held  converse  in  spirit.  Republican  as  I  am  by  my  reason, 
I  stand  fast  by  all  that  is  heroic,  noble,  and  proud.  There  is  no  field  for 
us  of  the  Old  Guard  now.  We  leave  to  you  the  field  of  the  new  world  of 
which  we  know  so  little,  to  whose  favours  we  so  rarely  aspire.'  And  he 
wrapped  around  his  noble  head  the  martial  cloak  he  wore,  and  he  with 
drew  as  if  he  had  been  Julius  as  he  fell  at  the  base  of  the  Statue  of 

And  now  the  Muse,  beaming  on  our  poet,  seemed  to  be  inviting 
him  to  come  forward  to  receive  the  prize,  so  clearly  awarded  by  the 
general  voice  of  his  brother  bards.  Then  there  stepped  forth  a  truly 
magnificent  personage,  whose  grand  countenance  might  serve  for  the 
Olympian  Zeus  of  Pheidias,  albeit  he  wore  the  civilian  dress  of  a  modern 

*  Gracious  Ladies  and  brother  Spirits,'  he  said,  *  our  friend  here  is 
still  so  much  overcome  by  the  welcome  he  has  received  that  he  shrinks 
from  attempting  to  express  his  thanks  in  person,  and  he  begs  me  to 
speak  in  his  name.  As  we  two  sate  apart  communing  together  on  the 
boundless  range  of  our  Art,  he  assures  me  that  he  was  hardly  conscious 
of  intending  all  the  profound  ideas  that  his  friends  of  the  later  times 
have  discovered  for  him.  He  vows  that  he  never  put  himself  personally 
to  his  audience  at  all,  and  yet  they  now  try  to  make  him  out  a  dozen 
different  men  rolled  into  one.  He  says  that  he  never  enjoyed  such 
training,  nor  pretended  to  such  learning,  as  have  those  who  have  spoken 
in  his  honour.  His  life  had  given  him  little  leisure  for  study,  nor  was 
he  free  to  work  out  in  ease  all  his  thoughts,  as  he  would  have  desired. 
He  was  a  servant  of  his  Sovereign,  a  humble  member  of  a  working 
guild,  and  the  simple  minister  to  the  enjoyments  of  the  gallants  and  good 
fellows  of  his  time.  How  many  a  page,  he  almost  moaned  out  to  me 
in  our  private  talks,  he  would  have  torn  up,  blotted  out,  or  re-written, 
if  he  ever  had  any  sort  of  idea  that  his  too  hurried  words  would  be 
remembered  by  any  but  those  who  first  heard  them  in  public.  Once 
or  twice  in  his  life,  he  says,  he  did  deliberately  revise  and  publish  to  the 


world  some  pieces  of  his  work  to  which  his  whole  soul  was  given.  Too 
often,  he  now  learns,  his  compositions  have  been  impudently  plundered, 
grossly  misread,  and  carelessly  printed.  His  short  life  has  been  one  of 
storm  and  stress,  of  jollity  and  good  fellowship,  of  lightning  work  to 
meet  peremptory  calls  which  his  official  duties  would  not  suffer  him  to 
neglect.  Too  often,  he  assures  me,  his  name  had  been  used  to  cover 
that  which  was  none  of  his.  So  conscious  is  he  of  this,  and  that  even 
some  of  his  own  was  far  from  his  best,  that  he  wishes  me  to  speak  in  his 

*  Let  me  add  one  word  more.    All  of  those  who  have  spoken  to-day 
lived  long  lives  of  ease  and  devotion  to  their  art :   all  but  one  of  them 
lived  to  an  honoured  old  age.     Such  was  not  the  lot  of  our  friend,  who 
ended  his  bodily  life,  after  years  of  trouble  and  of  labour,  much  earlier 
than  they.    And  when  he  gave  up  his  daily  task  of  supplying  incessant 
new  matter  for  his  colleagues,  and  had  withdrawn  in  the  maturity  of  his 
powers  to  his  native  town,  where  he  might  recast  all  that  he  cared  to 
leave  to  the  future — then  by  a  sudden  stroke  he  came  to  an  unexpected 
end.    It  was  for  this  reason  that  his  work  has  needed  such  generations 
of  interpreters  and  commentators — of  which  my  own  countrymen,  we 
are  proud  to  believe,  have  been  the  most  generous  and  the  most  indus 
trious.     We  all  hail  him — but  for  the  negligible  accident  of  his  birth — 
to  be  one  of  our  own  most  cherished  glories.' 

*  Sir  !  '    called  out  a  burly  figure  in  a  short  wig,  surrounded  by 
a  group  of  admiring  friends — and  the  big  man  spoke  with  the  voice  of 
one  who  never  suffered  contradiction — *  Sir !    you  are  quite  right  to 
admit  that  our  poet  was  not  always  at  his  best  vein,  and  did  sometimes 
forget  common-sense,  nature,  and  plain  speech.     We  have  quite  cleared 
up  these  occasional  slips  at  home,  whilst  our  foreign  friends  have  made 
mountains  out  of  molehills.    And  as  to  the  "  accident  of  birth  "/  he 
said  to  a  short  man,  with  a  singularly  speaking  countenance,  whose 
arm  he  held,  *  why  !    Davy,  we  of  the  West    Midlands  think  it  no 
"  accident  "  at  all.     Sir  !   it  is  the  hub  of  this  world,  and  our  man  is  its 

Here  I  noticed  a  somewhat  hectic  youth  with  a  big  head  and  a  shock 
of  red  hair,  call  out  in  a  thin  shrill  voice — *  No  !  I  will  not  allow  a  word 
of  his  to  be  wrong.  It  was  all  so  sublime,  ineffable,  ecstatic  ! '  But  his 
passionate  utterance  was  lost  in  the  tide  of  applause  from  the  throng 
that  pressed  on  behind  him.  They  came  on  in  their  thousands,  bearing 
the  standards  of  their  nations.  I  could  see  the  Tricolour  in  many  bands 
and  of  many  colours,  some  upright,  some  crosswise,  the  Stars  and 

C   2 


Stripes,  Black  Eagles,  Lions,  Strange  Beasts — even  the  Dragon  and 
the  Chrysanthemum  flag.  Long  serried  ranks  of  the  Poets  of  all  ages, 
races,  and  speech,  poured  on  in  troops  that  seemed  unending.  All  by 
voice  and  gesture  invited  the  Muse  to  confer  on  him  the  Golden 

But  here  my  Dream  ended — as  Dreams  do  end— just  as  the  great  award 
was  about  to  be  made. 



To  other  voices,  other  majesties, 
Removed  this  while,  Peace  shall  resort  again. 
But  he  was  with  us  in  our  darkest  pain 
And  stormiest  hour  :   his  faith  royally  dyes 
The  colours  of  our  cause  ;   his  voice  replies 
To  all  our  doubt,  dear  spirit !   heart  and  vein 
Of  England 's  old  adventure  !   his  proud  strain 
Rose  from  our  earth  to  the  sea-breathing  skies. 

Even  over  chaos  and  the  murdering  roar 

Comes  that  world- winning  music,  whose  full  stops 

Sounded  all  man,  the  bestial  and  divine; 

Terrible  as  thunder,  fresh  as  April  drops ! 

He  stands,  he  speaks,  the  soul-transfigured  sign 

Of  all  our  story,  on  the  English  shore. 




As  the  editor  of  this  volume  tells  me  it  is  desired  to  include  in  it 
stray  thoughts  jotted  down  without  the  formality  of  an  essay,  even  if 
they  do  no  more  than  suggest  some  points  or  lines  of  thought  on  which 
readers  may  agree  with  or  differ  from  the  writer,  I  have  put  down  a  few 
such  points.    One  of  them  has  often  been  noted,  but  it  may  be  noted 
again,  because  it  comes  more  and  more  back  to  whoever,  in  reading 
other  great  poets,  cannot  help  comparing  them  to  Shakespeare.    He  is 
the  one  among  them  all  who  least  bears  the  imprint  of  a  particular  time 
or  a  particular  local  environment.     Many  critics  have  proved  to  their 
own  satisfaction  that  he  could  only  have  been  an  Englishman  of  the 
sixteenth  century.    Heinrich  Heine's  famous  dictum  notwithstanding, 
we  can  all  bring  plenty  of  arguments  to  show  that  Shakespeare's  genius 
was  an  English  genius,  in  the  legitimate  line  of  English  poetical  develop 
ment,  with  Chaucer  before  him,  with  Milton  and  Dry  den  and  many 
another  after  him,  however  much  he  surpassed  them  all.    Nevertheless, 
the  fact  remains  that  we  can  quite  well  think  of  him  as  detached  from 
any  age  or  country  in  a  sense  in  which  we  cannot  so  think  of  Dante 
or  Ariosto,  Milton  or  Moliere  or  Goethe.    And  with  this  goes  the  fact 
that  there  is  no  great  writer  whose  personal  character  and  tastes  and 
likings  we  can  so  little  determine  from  his  writings.    We  cannot  even 
tell  whether  he  had  any,  and  what,  political  opinions.    There  is  nothing 
to  indicate,  or  even  to  furnish  material  for  conjecturing,  what  religious 
doctrines  he  held— a  thing  more  remarkable  in  his  time  than  it  would 
be  in  ours.    Many  ingenious  attempts  have  been  made  to  fix  upon 
particular  passages  as  conveying  views  that  were  distinctively  his  own, 
but  when  all  is  said  and  done  how  little  positive  result  remains.    We 
do  not  even  know  what  places  he  had  visited  nor  what  he  had  read, 
nor  what  poets  had  influenced  him.    He  knew  some  Latin,  but  in  the 
Roman  plays  there  is  no  trace  of  Virgil  or  Lucan.    There  is  but  little 
trace  in  Troilus  and  Cressida  of  Homer,  except  in  the  character  of 
Thersites,  probably  inspired  by  Chapman's  translation  of  the  Iliad. 


The  story  is  of  course  post-classical,  but  the  action  is  laid  in  Troy. 
Was  he  ever  at  Dover,  where  men  gathered  samphire  on  the  cliffs  ? 
Had  he  ever  seen  the  misty  mountain  tops  at  dawn  ?  The  Malvern  hills, 
not  visible  from  Stratford,  were  the  nearest  hills  one  could  call  mount 
ains,  though  by  no  means  lofty.  (So  one  may  ask  whether  Bunyan's 
Delectable  Mountains  in  the  Pilgrim's  Progress  were  the  chalk  downs 
of  Bedfordshire.)  Or  did  his  imagination  vivify  what  he  had  heard  of 
as  readily  as  what  he  had  seen  ?  His  mind  seems  to  mirror  everything 
alike,  as  the  surface  of  his  gently  flowing  Avon  mirrors  whirling  clouds 
and  blue  sky,  the  noonday  rays  and  the  dying  glow  of  sunset. 

This  detachment,  this  habit  of  presenting  all  types  of  character,  all 
phases  of  life  and  forms  of  passion,  with  the  same  impartial  insight, 
may  perhaps  be  said  to  belong  to  every  great  dramatist.  It  is  the  drama 
tist's  business.  Moliere  is  an  example.  Yet  each  of  the  other  great 
dramatists  has  provided  us  with  better  data  for  guessing  at  what  he 
was  himself  than  Shakespeare  has  done.  In  him  the  intellect  is  strikingly 
individual  in  its  way  of  thinking  and  its  way  of  expressing  thought,  but 
it  is  all  developed  from  within,  having  caught  up  very  little  from  time 
or  place,  and  it  seems  somehow  distinct  from  the  man,  as  others  saw 
him  moving  about  in  the  daily  life  of  London  or  Warwickshire. 
We  recognize  now  and  then  in  other  poets  something  that  we  call 
Shakespearian  because  it  reminds  us  of  Shakespeare's  peculiar  forms 
of  expression.  But  this  distinctive  quality  in  his  thought  and  style, 
marked  though  it  is,  does  not  reveal  the  man  ;  perhaps  not  even  in  the 
Sonnets,  which  seem,  if  one  may  venture  an  opinion  on  so  controversial 
a  subject,  to  be  rather  dramatic  than  personal. 

Dante  has  an  amazing  range  of  thought  and  power  of  making  his 
characters  live,  but  how  intensely  personal  he  is  !  So  also — not  to  speak 
of  men  like  Horace  or  Pope,  who  weave  themselves  into  the  texture  of 
their  verse — so  is  Lucretius,  so  are  Petrarch,  Milton,  Wordsworth, 
Goethe,  Shelley,  Byron,  Leopardi,  and  in  less  measure  Pindar  and 
Virgil.  We  feel  as  if  we  could  get  near  them  and  imagine  them  as  they 
were  in  life.  Of  all  the  great  imaginative  works,  those  which  are  likest 
to  Shakespeare's  in  this  impersonality  of  the  author,  this  supreme  gift 
of  seeing  all  phases  of  life  and  presenting  them  all  with  the  same  fidelity 
to  the  infinite  variety  of  nature,  are  the  Homeric  poems  and  especially 
the  Iliad.  (Think  of  Nestor  and  Achilles,  Priam  and  Andromache.) 
There  is  in  those  poems  something  of  what  one  may  call  (if  the  apparent 
contradiction  be  permissible)  the  sympathetic  aloofness  of  Shakespeare. 
His  aloofness  is  neither  cold  nor  cynical  :  it  is  the  detachment  needed 


for  an  observation  which  sees  calmly,  and  therefore  can  mete  out  equal 
justice  to  all  that  it  sees. 

One  is  tempted  to  connect  with  this  detached  attitude  in  Shake 
speare  his  apparent  indifference  to  fame.  A  poet's  want  of  interest  in 
the  fate  of  his  own  work  is  so  rare  that  it  might  lead  us  to  fancy  that 
he  did  not  know  how  good  that  work  was.  (Read  and  consider  what 
Robert  Browning  says  about  him  in  Bishop  Blougram's  Apology.)  Is 
there  any  parallel  in  the  great  masters  of  literature  to  this  indifference  ? 
Can  it  be  explained  by  the  spontaneity  and  seeming  absence  of  effort 
with  which  he  composed,  as  if  this  made  him  feel  that  there  could  be 
nothing  wonderful  in  what  came  to  him  so  easily  ?  Did  he  enjoy  the 
process  of  creation  so  much  as  not  to  care  what  happened  to  the  product 
when  the  process  was  over  ?  Or  are  we  to  think  that  that  sense  of  the 
insignificance  and  transitoriness  of  all  human  things,  which  is  every 
now  and  then  discerned  as  an  undercurrent  of  his  thought,  extended 
itself  to  his  own  work  ?  When  the  time  came  when  he  had  no  longer 
occasion  to  write,  did  he,  like  Prospero,  break  his  wand,  with  no  sigh 
of  regret  ? 

We  shall  never  exhaust  the  Shakespearian  problems.  A  time  may 
come  when  scholars  will  be  much  more  nearly  agreed  than  they  are  now 
as  to  which  of  the  plays,  or  which  parts  of  the  doubtful  plays,  are  really 
from  his  hand,  just  as  scholars  are  more  agreed  now  than  they  were 
seventy  years  ago  as  to  the  date  and  authorship  of  most  of  the  books 
of  the  New  Testament.  But  the  questions  we  ask  about  the  relation  of 
the  genius  to  the  man  will  remain,  and  may  be  no  nearer  solution  when 
the  next  centenary  arrives. 



THERE  are  few,  probably,  who  have  not  derived  from  Shakespeare's 
writings  at  least  some  part  of  the  inspiration  of  their  lives,  and  have  not 
found  in  his  wise  words  practical  encouragement  in  times  of  difficulty 
and  distress.  In  these  anxious  days,  when  the  whole  power  of  England 
and  its  Allies  is  engaged  in  the  defence  of  liberty  and  justice,  no  words 
of  any  modern  writer  could  light  the  fires  of  national  pride  and  devotion 
as  do  Shakespeare's  lofty  expressions  of  patriotism  and  affection  for  his 
country, — 

This  royal  throne  of  kings,  this  sceptred  isle. 

The  thought  of  the  great  and  ever-watchful  fleet,  to  which  we  owe 
to-day  so  much,  recalls  the  lines, — 

O,  do  but  think, 

You  stand  upon  the  rivage,  and  behold 
A  city  on  the  inconstant  billows  dancing, 
For  so  appears  this  fleet  majestical. 

Whilst  to  those  who  are  able  and  yet  hesitate  to  take  up  the  burden  of 
the  struggle  the  poet  seems  to  say, — 

Who  is  he,  whose  chin  is  but  enriched 
With  one  appearing  hair,  that  will  not  follow 
Those  call'd  and  choice-drawn  cavaliers  to  France  ? 

But  probably  it  is  the  personal  debt  that  we  owe  to  the  inspiring  words 
of  the  *  immortal  bard  '  that  draws  us  to  him  and  demands  our  individual 
homage.  Speaking  for  myself,  I  confess  that  I  owe  to  the  penetrating 
fire  of  his  verse  more  than  I  can  say.  I  was  fortunate  enough  in  my  early 
days  to  have  my  lot  cast  in  a  school  where  by  long  tradition  a  play  of 
Shakespeare  was  acted  each  year,  and  I  well  remember  the  effect  of  the 
atmosphere  we  breathed  during  the  weeks  of  preparation,  when  the 
rhythm  of  the  Poet's  incomparable  language  was  always  ringing  in  our 
ears.  Alas  ! — at  least  in  my  opinion — modern  requirements  have  caused 
this  annual  feast  of  Shakespearian  poetry  to  be  discontinued,  and  in 


its  place  is  possibly  substituted  some  play,  studied  like  the  classic  of 
a  past  age. 

In  reality  Shakespeare  should  never  be  regarded  as  the  poet  of  past 
times.  His  position  in  the  world  of  letters  is  similar  to  that  of  Dante. 
What  must  strike  any  observer  who  lives  in  Italy  is  the  influence  exerted 
by  the  latter  over  the  people,  even  in  these  days.  His  verses  seem  to 
come  to  their  lips  on  every  occasion  as  the  truest  expression  of  their 
inmost  feelings.  It  should  be  the  same  with  us  in  regard  to  Shakespeare, 
for  his  words  aptly  give  form  to  almost  every  lofty  thought,  even  in  our 
days.  Why  this  is  so  is  clear.  His  poems  do  not  merely  express  the 
peculiar  sentiments  of  the  age  in  which  they  were  written  ;  nor  describe 
only  characters  with  which  we  are  no  longer  familiar.  They  are  for 
every  age  :  and  for  this  reason,  because  they  represent  nature  as  it  is 
at  all  times.  *  Nothing ',  wrote  Dr.  Johnson,  '  can  please  many,  and 
please  long,  but  just  representations  of  general  nature.'  And  in  applying 
this  truth  to  Shakespeare  he  says  that  he  '  is  above  all  writers,  at  least 
above  all  modern  writers,  the  poet  of  nature  ;  the  poet  that  holds  up 
to  his  readers  a  faithful  mirror  of  manners  and  of  life.  His  characters 
are  not  modified  by  the  customs  of  particular  places,  unpractised  by 
the  rest  of  the  world.  .  .  .  They  are  the  genuine  progeny  of  common 
humanity,  such  as  the  world  will  always  supply,  and  observation  will 
always  find.  His  persons  act  and  speak  by  the  influence  of  those  general 
passions  and  principles  by  which  all  minds  are  agitated  and  the  whole 
system  of  life  is  continued  in  motion.  In  the  writings  of  other  poets 
a  character  is  too  often  an  individual  ;  in  those  of  Shakespeare,  it  is 
commonly  a  species.' 

This  explains  the  attraction  which  the  immortal  works  of  our  great 
national  poet  has  for  us  to-day,  and  it  is  the  fundamental  reason  for  the 
willing  homage  we  pay  to  his  genius. 

My  special  admiration  for  his  plays  and  poems  is  based,  too,  on 
other  considerations.  I  am  astonished  at  the  accurate  knowledge  he 
displays  of  the  moral  teachings  and  doctrines  of  the  Church.  His  ethics 
are  irreproachable.  Conscience,  according  to  Shakespeare's  philosophy, 
is  man's  supreme  guide  ;  God's  law  should  be  the  rule  of  his  life.  Man's 
free  will,  strengthened  by  prayer  and  God's  grace,  can  master  his  lower 
nature  and  enable  him  to  rise  to  better  things  and  gain  for  him  an  ever 
lasting  reward.  His  whole  conception  of  the  dignity  and  position  of 
man  is  lofty  and  true.  Indeed,  one  of  the  most  beautiful  and  accurate 
expressions  of  the  Christian  life  to  be  found  in  any  lay  writer  occurs  in 
Sonnet  CXLVI. 


To  Shakespeare  man's  nature  is  complex.  If  his  soul  can  reach  into 
the  unseen  world,  his  body  is  but  of  the  earth  and  has  appetites  in 
common  with  the  beasts.  How  clearly,  for  example,  Hamlet  puts  this 
teaching :  *  What  a  piece  of  work  is  a  man  !  How  noble  in  reason !  how 
infinite  in  faculty  !  in  form,  in  moving,  how  express  and  admirable  ! 
in  action  how  like  an  angel  !  in  apprehension  how  like  a  god  !  the 
beauty  of  the  world  !  the  paragon  of  animals  !  ' 

Or  again  :  how  clearly  the  poet  states  his  belief  in  the  existence  of 
the  immortal  soul  that  man  holds  from  God,  and  in  the  responsibility 
he  incurs  on  this  account : 

What  is  man, 

If  his  chief  good  and  market  of  his  time 
Be  but  to  sleep  and  feed?    a  beast,  no  more. 

Then  as  to  morality  in  general  :  however  coarse  the  poet  may 
appear  to  us  at  times,  in  words,  jests,  or  insinuations,  according  to  the 
manner  of  his  age,  no  professed  moralist  could  be  more  severe  on  vice 
than  he  shows  himself  in  his  poetry.  To  him  God  is  no  mere  abstract 
force  or  principle,  but  the  Almighty  Creator  of  all  things,  who  has  a 
personal  care  of  all  who  have  come  from  His  hands.  He  is  the  *  high 
all-seer  '  and  has  countless  eyes  to  view  men's  acts.  He  is  omniscient ; 
knows  when  we  are  falsely  accused  ;  never  slumbers  nor  sleeps  ;  reads 
the  hearts  of  men,  and  in  Heaven  *  sits  a  Judge,  that  no  king  can  corrupt '. 
He  is  our  Father,  cares  for  the  aged,  feeds  the  ravens  and  caters  for  the 
sparrow.  He  is  the  widow's  *  champion  and  defence  ' ;  is  the  *  upright, 
just,  and  true  disposing  God  ' ;  is  the  one  supreme  appeal — '  God  above 
deal  between  thee  and  me  '.  He  is  the  guardian  of  the  night,  *  when  the 
searching  eye  of  heaven  is  hid  ',  &c.  He 

To  believing  souls 
Gives  light  in  darkness,  comfort  in  despair. 

Mercy  is  His  attribute  :  *  'Tis  mightiest  in  the  mightiest ',  and  His  mercy 
constrains  us  to  be  merciful  to  our  brethren.  All  human  duties  and 
obligations  are  founded  on  our  duty  to  Him.  Kings  and  all  in  authority 
are  His  deputies  and  ministers.  Man  and  wife  are  united  in  Him,  and 
therefore  marriage  is  indissoluble.  This  great  God,  too,  is  the  Lord 
of  armies. 

O !   thou,  whose  captain  I  account  myself, 
Look  on  my  forces  with  a  gracious  eye; 
Put  in  their  hands  thy  bruising  irons  of  wrath. 
That  they  may  crush  down  with  a  heavy  fall 


The  usurping  helmets  of  our  adversaries. 
Make  us  thy  ministers  of  chastisement, 
That  we  may  praise  thee  in  thy  victory! 
To  thee  I  do  commend  my  watchful  soul, 
Ere  I  let  fall  the  windows  of  mine  eyes ; 
Sleeping  and  waking!   O  defend  me  still! 

Instances  might  be  multiplied  almost  indefinitely  of  the  true,  solid 
teaching  on  Christian  faith  and  morals  which  is  to  be  found  in  Shake 
speare's  plays  and  poems.  If  only  for  this  reason  I  gladly  bow  in  homage 
to  him  for  his  imperishable  work. 

But  my  admiration  and  reverence  for  his  name  are  strengthened 
by  his  very  reticence,  for  what  he  might  have  said  under  the  peculiar 
circumstances  of  the  times  in  which  he  lived  and  did  not  say.  In  the 
*  spacious  days  '  o£  Queen  Elizabeth,  and  at  the  beginning  of  the  seven 
teenth  century,  the  clergy  as  a  class,  with  the  monks  and  nuns  of  the 
old  religion,  were  not  popular.  The  friar,  the  monk,  and  the  priest  were 
at  this  time  considered  to  be  fair  game  for  the  coarse  jest  and  ribald 
witticism  of  poet  and  playwright.  To  attack  their  fair  name  would  have 
been  to  tickle  the  ears  of  the  crowd.  Yet  we  may  search  the  plays  of 
Shakespeare  through  and  through,  and  not  find  any  such  trait.  On  the 
contrary,  the  liberality  of  his  treatment  of  the  clergy  is  apparent  every 
where,  and  even  his  sympathy  is  evidenced  in  more  than  one  instance. 
A  striking  example  of  this  is  to  be  seen  in  his  play  of  King  John,  not  so 
much  by  what  he  wrote  as  by  what  he  omitted  to  write.  It  is  certain 
that  in  this  play  he  revised  the  old  play  of  The  Troublesome  Reign  of 
King  John,  which  contains  a  ribald  scene  describing  the  ransacking 
of  an  abbey.  Shakespeare  deliberately  omitted  this  scene  in  re-casting 
the  play.  That  it  must  have  been  deliberate  we  can  hardly  doubt,  since 
he  makes  few  such  omissions.  Here,  then,  the  poet  had  an  opportunity 
of  appealing  to  the  coarse  tastes  of  his  age  and  of  ingratiating  himself 
with  all  who  desired  to  blacken  the  reputations  of  those  who  belonged 
to  the  *  old  order  ',  and  refused  to  take  it.  We  can  see  in  the  works  of 
some  of  his  contemporaries,  such  as  Greene  in  his  Friar  Bacon,  or 
Marlowe  in  his  Jew  of  Malta,  what  excellent  capital  for  popularity 
he  set  aside  as  unworthy  of  his  muse. 

In  the  same  way,  in  dealing  with  English  history,  it  is  remarkable 
that  he  left  on  one  side  subjects  which  might  have  purchased  popularity. 
The  overthrow  of  the  Papal  authority,  as  it  was  treated  in  the  anonymous 
play  of  The  Troublesome  Reign  of  King  John,  or  in  The  Faerie  Queene ; 
the  gunpowder  plot,  as  used  by  Ben  Jonson  in  his  Catiline ;  the  destruc 
tion  of  the  Armada,  as  treated  by  Dekker  ;  the  glorification  of  Elizabeth, 


as  added  by  Fletcher  to  Henry  VIII,  were  all  subjects  which  would 
certainly  lend  themselves  to  catching  the  popular  sentiment,  and  which  we 
can  have  no  doubt  were  of  set  purpose  left  on  one  side  by  Shakespeare. 
This  deliberate  silence,  therefore,  and  this  refusal  to  bid  for  popularity 
by  joining  in  the  chorus  of  defamation  of  the  past  so  freely  indulged 
in  by  other  writers  of  his  day,  in  my  opinion  raises  Shakespeare  to  a 
pedestal  high  above,  not  merely  his  contemporaries,  but  above  even  such 
illustrious  men  as  Spenser  and  Milton.  If  we  grant  that  it  was  aesthetics, 
and  high  art  rather  than  ethics  which  counselled  him  to  take  this  course, 
even  this  does  not  detract  from  the  largeness  of  mind  which  preserved 
him  from  the  temptation  to  pander  to  the  prejudices  of  the  time. 

For  this  reason,  too,  I  honour  and  reverence  the  memory  of  this 
great  poet,  and  am  pleased  to  respond  to  this  call  for  homage. 





FOR    ^fPHL    23RD 


ONE  thing  to-day 

For  England  let  us  pray  — 

That,  when  this  bitterness  of  blood  is  spent, 

Out  of  the  darkness  of  the  discontent 

Perplexing  man  with  man,  poor  pride  with  pride, 

Shall  come  to  her,  and  loverly  abide, 

Sure  knowledge  that  these  lamentable  days 

Were  given  to  death  and  the  bewildered  praise 

Of  dear  young  limbs  and  eager  eyes  forestilled, 

That  in  her  home,  where  Shakespeare's  passion  grew 

From  song  to  song,  should  thrive  the  happy-willed 

Free  life  that  Shakespeare  drew. 




'  To  one  that  knew  nothing  of  Christian  beliefs ',  said  Lafcadio 
Hearn,  *  the  plays  of  Shakespeare  must  remain  incomprehensible.'  For 
religion  lays  bare  the  heart  of  a  nation,  even  as  it  shapes  its  law  and 
custom.  Carry le  has  anticipated  the  interpreter  of  Japan.  *  In  some 
sense ',  he  allows,  *  this  glorious  Elizabethan  era  with  its  Shakespeare, 
as  the  outcome  and  flowerage  of  all  which  had  preceded  it,  is  itself 
attributable  to  the  Catholicism  of  the  Middle  Ages.  The  Christian 
Faith,  which  was  the  theme  of  Dante's  song,  had  produced  this  Practical 
Life  which  Shakespeare  was  to  sing.'  Hence  the  supreme  poet  could 
never  be  a  Puritan.  The  question  is  not  so  much  personal  to  the  man 
of  Stratford-on-Avon,  whether  he  conformed  to  the  Church  by  law 
established  or  stood  out  as  a  recusant.  We  pay  homage  to  something 
larger  and  deeper  than  the  individual  who  has  become  its  mouthpiece 
during  all  future  days  ;  we  recognize  the  genius,  rightly  so  termed, 
that  sums  up  and  for  ever  crystallizes  an  otherwise  extinct  world  by 
means  of  him.  Therefore,  to  quote  Carlyle  once  more,  he  is  *  the 
noblest  product '  of  Catholicism  ;  but,  I  hasten  to  add,  he  appears 
amid  the  splendours  kindled  by  a  new  morning,  by  the  Renaissance, 
of  a  literature  no  longer  mediaeval.  There  is,  then,  a  Catholic  strain 
in  Shakespeare,  crossing  and  entangling  the  modern,  with  remarkable 

Elizabethan  drama  rose  out  of  the  mystery  and  morality  plays  of 
which  the  origin  must  be  sought  in  the  Roman  Mass.  Their  aim  was 
distinctly  religious,  while  Scripture  and  the  legends  of  the  Saints  fur 
nished  their  matter.  Shakespeare,  taking  a  wider  scope  and  setting 
history  on  the  stage,  did,  nevertheless,  contrive  in  Macbeth  an  instance 
of  the  *  morality  '  made  perfect ;  for,  with  a  depth  and  directness 
never  surpassed,  it  reveals  the  law  of  conscience  avenging  itself  on  guilt 
by  an  inward  working.  The  witches  and  their  shows  are  but  a  phantasm ; 


the  chief  agent  of  doom  is  the  sinner,  sicklied  or  driven  mad  under 
stress  of  self-accusation.  Richard  III,  not  so  profound,  discovers  con 
science  in  the  persons  and  events  that  visibly  at  last  bear  down  on  the 
culprit  and  smite  him  before  battle.  So  far,  the  colouring  is  Christian 
rather  than  simply  Catholic.  But  what  I  may  term  the  atmosphere  of 
Romeo  and  Juliet,  of  the  Merchant  of  Venice,  and  the  Comedies, 
their  warmth,  ease,  and  grace  of  movement,  so  unmistakably  Italian, 
would  vanish  away  if  we  took  from  them  the  religious  background; 
and  this  must  be  mediaeval,  since  it  was  neither  Pagan  nor  Puritan. 
Not  many  years  later  its  glow  was  gone.  If  we  reflect  upon  the  secret 
of  living  art,  which  is  as  little  antiquarian  as  it  is  prophetic  afar  off,  we 
shall  feel  that  the  Catholic  past  in  England,  its  continuation  in  Italy, 
afforded  just  the  perspective  in  time  and  space  that  Shakespeare  needed 
to  hold  the  mirror  up  to  nature.  Even  his  Roman  plays  strike  home 
by  virtue  of  this  ever  fresh  quality.  It  comes  out  in  Henry  VIII, 
if  we  grant  that  Shakespeare  is  the  author  of  Queen  Katharine's 
speeches ;  to  my  mind,  A  Winter's  Tale,  As  You  Like  It,  and  Twelfth 
Night,  bear  each  a  character  derived  from  long  Catholic  usage  now 
passing  into  Renaissance  forms.  Henry  V  is  a  crusader  in  spirit ; 
in  Henry  VI,  spiteful  as  it  is  against  Joan  of  Arc,  we  light  upon  the 
prophecy,  now  fulfilled,  that  the  Maid  shall  take  the  place  of  St.  Denis 
and  inspire  the  armies  of  France.  In  King  John,  which  reads 
fiercely  anti-Papal,  the  poet  has  omitted  from  his  revised  copy  a  scene 
that  dishonoured  monasticism.  He  chants,  too,  with  a  pathos  not  un 
touched  by  reminiscence  of  its  fall,  the  *  bare  ruined  choirs,  where 
late  the  sweet  birds  sang  '.  His  Friar  Lawrence  lingers  in  our  thoughts 
of  Verona 's  lovers,  as  a  purely  human,  even  all  too  human,  figure.  But 
the  grandest  of  his  Catholic  creations  lives  in  Measure  for  Measure. 
The  *  votarist  of  Saint  Clare  ',  Isabella,  remains  *  a  thing  enskied  and 
sainted  '  among  the  heavy  shadows  of  vice,  hypocrisy,  or  scepticism, 
hanging  over  this  difficult  drama.  Was  her  name  a  family  tradition  ? 
Isabella  Shakespeare,  to  whom  the  Stratford  house  claimed  kinship, 
had  once  been  Prioress  of  the  Benedictine  cloister  at  Wroxall.  Measure 
for  Measure,  as  a  story  of  the  *  Virgin- Martyr  ',  is  painfully  impressive 
by  its  insistence  on  law  which  cannot  be  broken.  Its  theme,  from 
the  earliest  ages  familiar  to  Catholic  ears,  holds  in  it  a  transcendent 

I  was  once  asked  whether  in  Shakespeare's  plays  any  reference 
could  be  found  in  praise  of  the  Madonna,  our  Lady  St.  Mary.  There 
is  one,  I  think,  in  All 's  Well  that  Ends  Well,  which  Dante  himself 


might  have  signed.  The  Countess,  grieving  over  Bertram,  her  wayward 
son,  cries  out, 

What  angel  shall 

Bless  this  unworthy  husband  ?    He  cannot  thrive, 
Unless  her  prayers,  whom  Heaven  delights  to  hear, 
*       And  loves  to  grant,  reprieve  him  from  the  wrath 
Of  greatest  justice. — Act  III,  Sc.  iv. 

None  but  the  Queen  of  Angels,  as  the  Litany  of  Lore  to  invokes  her, 
can  be  thought  of  under  such  high  language  as  able  by  prayer  to  *  re 
prieve  '  a  sinful  soul.  Surely  it  is  not  Helena,  though  a  pilgrim  to 
St.  James  of  Compostella,  whom  these  words  fit.  Or,  if  so,  they  are 
significant  of  a  loftier  faith  where  the  full  scope  and  grandeur  of  them 
had  been  long  acclaimed  by  Christendom.  But  other  lines  bearing  the 
mystic  seal  occur  to  me  ;  as,  for  instance,  when  we  read  in  Macbeth 
of  *  the  Lord's  anointed  temple  ',  and  how  sacrilege  has  stolen  thence 

*  the  life  of  the  building  '.    Catholic  dogma  will  turn  imagery  like  this 
to  its  profit,  to  the  hidden  life  of  Christ  in  the  tabernacle,  and  to  the 
sanctuaries  which  were  violated  in  a  day  of  rebuke  and  blasphemy. 
It  does  not  follow  that  Shakespeare  had  these  outrages  in  mind,  but 
they  darkened  the  history  of  a  time  only  just  gone  by.    Like  Virgilian 
currents  of  suggestion,  the  pensive  sayings  in  which  our  dramatist 
abounds  bear  us  to  many  shores.    At  length  we  come  with  Shakespeare 
into  the  open  sea  where  all  the  winds  are  struggling  ;    we  reach  the 
incoherence  of  Hamlet  and  Lear's  pessimism,  on  which  from  Prosperous 
fairy  island  the  pale  sunshine  falls  as  in  a  dream. 

The  '  incoherence  of  Hamlet '  is  the  play  itself.  No  Puritan  half 
way  house  can  be  seen  anywhere  ;  but  the  Catholic  faith  in  Purgatory, 
penance,  sacraments,  judgement,  is  here  at  death-grips  with  a  sceptical 
doubt,  the  very  heart  of  the  prince  who  knows  not  how  to  flee  from  his 
own  question.  It  is  Kant's  Dream  of  a  Ghost-seer,  flung  into  drama 
with  unheard-of  magnificence  and  equal  melancholy  ages  before  the 
philosopher,  but  a  forecast  which  was  beginning  to  be  realized  even 
while  Shakespeare  wrote.  Faith  has  become  a  point  of  interrogation  ; 
nothing  stands  sure  ;  love  and  life  take  us  in  if  we  trust  them  ;  and 

*  the  rest  is  silence  '.    Acute  critics  have  detected  in  what  I  will  call  the 
pessimist  dramas,  Hamlet ,  Measure  for  Measure,  Othello,  Lear,  and  even 
The  Tempest,  an  influence  which  they  charge  to  Montaigne,  the  French 

*  captain  of  the  band  '.    It  may  be  thus  ;  but  '  der  Geist,  der  stets  ver- 
neint ',  the  Everlasting  No,  walked  about  London  streets,  when  he 
was  not  haunting  a  Gascon  squire  at  home.      The  fall  of  a  universal 



religion  in  many  lands  must  have  brought  forth  a  doubt  such  as  attends 
on  earthquake.  Europe  has  been  asking  of  its  wisest  ever  since,  *  Canst 
thou  minister  to  a  mind  diseased  ? '  Hamlet  is  *  Everyman  '.  And  King 
Lear  outdoes  the  meditative  Dane,  with  his  frenzied  shriek,  the  last  word 
of  anarchism  : 

As  flies  to  wanton  boys  are  we  to  the  gods, 
They  kill  us  for  their  sport. 

But  I  will  make  my  bow  to  Prospero,  sometime  Duke  of  Milan,  Catholic 
and  Italian,  a  beautiful  old  man,  magician  and  father  of  Miranda,  whom 
I  have  known  since  I  was  a  lad  of  six,  and  now  I  revere  him  as  the  master 
of  dreams  which  the  crowd  calls  science,  but  I  glimpses  of  God's  angels 
moving  the  wide  universe.  Hamlet  will  not  always  be  incoherent. 
The  all-embracing  Catholic  Faith,  out  from  whence  our  Shakespeare 
came,  looks  upon  him  as  its  child  of  genius,  with  starry  eyes  and  a  heart 
deep  as  man's  deepest  sorrow — which  is  not  to  have  found  his  God. 
He  will  find,  for  he  has  suffered.  And,  by  the  miracle  that  yet  is  to  be 
wrought,  Hamlet's  incoherence  will  turn  in  that  day  to  the  *  marriage 
of  true  minds ',  when  Faith  weds  with  Life,  and  Love  with  Knowledge. 




THOUGHTS  about  Shakespeare  cannot  pretend  to  be  new.  There 
fore  it  is  enough  that  the  thoughts  of  us  all  should  be  practised  rather 
than  spoken.  It  might,  for  example,  be  insolent  for  any  man  to  say 
that  Shakespeare  is  a  magnificent  humourist  for  every  age,  yet  to  the 
thinking  of  our  age  a  very  tedious  wit ;  but  the  man  who  would  not 
venture  to  say  this  aloud  knows  his  Second  Part  of  Henry  IV,  for  its 
humour,  through  and  through,  and  has  not  read  Love's  Labour  's  Lost, 
for  its  wit,  more  than  perhaps  once.  We  all  know  Shakespeare  as  it 
were  privately,  and  thus  a  demand  for  words  about  him  touches  our 
autobiography.  What  we  think  about  Shakespeare  is  part  of  the  public's 
privacy  as  well  as  of  our  own.  For  we  are  all  more  than  content  to  be 
like  Poins,  to  whom  Prince  Henry  says,  *  Thou  art  a  blessed  fellow  to 
think  as  every  man  thinks  ;  never  a  man's  thought  keeps  in  the  roadway 
better  than  thine.'  We  are  safe  in  the  middle  of  the  roadway  in  our 
thoughts  of  Shakespeare.  Very  few  men  have  tried  to  be  original  in 
regard  to  Shakespeare,  and  their  dreary  experiment  had  best  be  for 
gotten.  It  will  probably  not  be  imitated.  Shakespeare's  greater 
readers  have  done  no  more  than  multiply  one  affection,  one  praise. 
Ruskin  and  Emerson  are  only  more  articulate  than  the  rest  of  their 
respective  nations.  It  is  true  that  Ruskin  seemed  to  make  a  kind  of 
discovery  when  he  showed  this  fact  in  the  dramas — that  Shakespeare  has 
no  heroes,  but  only  heroines.  The  *  discovery '  only  seems  ;  Ruskin 
states  the  matter,  but  every  simple  reader  knows  that  Juliet  was  steadfast 
and  wise  in  stratagem  and  Romeo  rash,  Juliet  single-hearted  and  Romeo 
changeable  ;  that  Imogen  was  true  and  that  Posthumus  Leonatus  was 
by  her  magnanimity  awarded  a  kind  of  triumph  when  all  he  should  have 
hoped  from  her  mercy  was  pardon  ;  that  Hermione  forgives  her  lord 
his  suspicion,  and  the  theft  of  her  child,  and  sixteen  years  of  innocent 
exile,  without  a  word  of  forgiveness.  Every  reader  knows  the  indomit 
able  will  of  Helena,  who  condescends  to  pursue  and  win  a  paltry  boy, 
and  sweetly  thinks  herself  rewarded  by  the  possession  of  that  poor 

D  2 


quarry  ;  the  lovely  simplicity  of  Desdemona,  which  lies  as  that  of 
a  frightened  child  lies,  to  save  herself  from  the  violence  of  the  noble 
savage  whom  she  loves  ;  the  inarticulate  and  modest  devotion  of  Virgilia 
to  a  great  man  not  too  great  for  insane  self-love  ;  Cordelia 's  integrity 
and  self-possession  among  raving  men  ;  Isabella's  courage  in  face  of 
a  coward  brother  ;  Viola's  valour  and  her  single  love  in  search  of  the 
contre-coup  of  her  Duke's  affections  ;  Julia,  true  to  a  juggling  lover  ; 
Queen  Katharine  betrayed  by  a  hypocrite  ;  nay,  the  maid  called  Barbara 
who  was  forsaken.  Barbara,  Desdemona,  Juliet,  Imogen,  Virgilia, 
Miranda,  Viola,  Hermione,  Perdita,  Julia,  Helena,  the  other  Helena, 
Mariana,  Rosalind,  were  all  enamoured,  all  impassioned,  and  all 

Why  did  Shakespeare  make  heroines  and  not  heroes  ?  It  was 
assuredly  because  Shakespeare  had  a  master  passion  for  chastity,  and 
because  this  quality  was  most  credible,  in  a  world  not  governed  by 
theology,  there  where  he  attributed  it,  lodged  it,  and  adored  it — in  this 
candidatus  exercitus  of  women. 

There  is  one  thing  that  additionally  and  adventitiously  proves  this 
passion  of  Shakespeare's  spirit,  and  that  is  his  abstention  from  the 
brilliancy  and  beauty  wherewith  he  knows  how  to  invest  the  wanton  : 
his  vitality  in  Cressida,  his  incomparable  splendour  in  Cleopatra.  Yet 
stay — is  not  Cressida  alone  in  inconstancy  ?  and  is  it  not  a  senseless 
action  to  name  Cressida  in  Cleopatra's  glorious  company  ?  Shakespeare, 
able  to  make  unparalleled  Cressidas,  made  only  one.  Cleopatra  is 
clean,  not  by  water  but  by  her  *  integrity  of  fire  '.  She  too  is  constant, 
she  too  is  *  for  the  dark ',  for  eternity.  She  entrusts  her  passion  to 
another  world.  Let  her  stand  close  to  the  majestic  side  of  Hermione, 
even  though  Hermione  might  not  permit  Perdita  to  kiss  her. 

Does  this  recognition  of  Shakespeare's  master  passion  look  like 
the  claim  to  a  discovery  ?  Heaven  forbid,  for  it  should  not. 




WHEN  the  human  spirit,  joyful  or  disconsolate,  seeks  perch  for  its 
happy  feet,  or  stay  for  flagging  wings,  it  comes  back  again  and  again  to 
the  great  tree  of  Shakespeare's  genius,  whose  evergreen  no  heat  withers, 
no  cold  blights,  whose  security  no  wind  can  loosen. 

Rooted  in  the  good  brown  soil,  sunlight  or  the  starshine  on  its 
leaves,  this  great  tree  stands,  a  refuge  and  home  for  the  spirits  of  men. 

Why  are  the  writings  of  Shakespeare  such  an  everlasting  solace  and 
inspiration  ? 

Because,  in  an  incomprehensible  world,  full  of  the  savage  and  the 
stupid  and  the  suffering,  stocked  with  monstrous  contrasts  and  the  most 
queer  happenings,  they  do  not  fly  to  another  world  for  compensation. 
They  are  of  Earth  and  not  of  Heaven.  They  blink  nothing,  dare  every 
thing,  but  even  in  tragedy  never  lose  their  sane  unconscious  rapture, 
their  prepossession  with  that  entrancing  occupation  which  we  call '  life  '. 
Firm  in  reality,  they  embody  the  faith  that  sufficient  unto  this  Earth 
is  the  beauty  and  the  meaning  thereof.  Theirs  is,  as  it  were,  the  proud 
exuberance  of  Nature,  and  no  eye  turned  on  the  hereafter  ;  and  so  they 
fill  us  with  gladness  to  be  alive — though  *  the  rain  it  raineth  every  day  '. 

Truth  condescended  for  a  moment  when  Shakespeare  lived,  with 
drew  her  bandage  and  looked  out ;  and  good  and  evil,  beauty  and 
distortion,  laughter  and  gloom  for  once  were  mirrored  as  they  are, 
under  this  sun  and  moon. 

What  a  wide,  free,  careless  spirit  was  this  man  Shakespeare's — 
incarnate  lesson  to  all  narrow-headed  mortals,  with  strait  moralities,  and 
pedantic  hearts  !  And  what  a  Song  he  sang  ;  clothing  Beauty  for  all 
time  in  actuality,  in  strangeness,  and  variety  ! 

*  He  wanted  arte,'  Ben  Jonson  said  ;  *  I  would  he  had  blotted  a 
thousand  lines  ! '  No  doubt !  And  yet,  Ben  Jonson  :  What  is  art  ? 

In  every  tree,  even  the  greatest,  dead  wood  and  leaves  shrivelled 
from  birth,  abound  ;  but  never  was  a  tree  where  the  rich  sap  ran 
up  more  freely,  never  a  tree  whose  height  and  circumference  were 


greater,  whose  leaves  so  glistened  ;  where  astonished  Spring  fluttered 
such  green  buds  ;  breezes  made  happier  sound  in  Summer,  whispering  ; 
the  Autumn  gales  a  deeper  roaring  ;  nor,  in  Winter,  reigned  so  rare 
a  silent  beauty  of  snow. 

In  this  Great  Tree,  I  think  there  shall  never  be,  in  the  time  of  man, 

'  Bare  ruin'd  choirs,  where  late  the  sweet  birds  sang.' 


March,  1916. 

F.  R.  BENSON  39 


1  OH,  I  see,'  said  a  friend  one  day,  at  the  end  of  a  performance  of 
Hamlet,  '  you  Stratfordians  are  trying  to  Shakespearize  England.' 
*  The  world,  too,  if  we  can/  I  replied. 

But  primarily  we  are  only  wandering  actors,  not  philanthropists, 
and  as  artists  it  is  not  ours  to  say  this  is  right  or  this  is  wrong,  only  this 
is  life  as  it  has  been,  as  it  is,  and  as  it  may  be  if  you  will  have  it  thus  ; 
and  as  artists  our  desire  is  to  take  part  in  some  of  the  most  perfect  dramas 
that  the  world  has  ever  seen  or  will  see. 

The  size  and  shape  of  the  theatres  alter,  the  patterns  of  scenery  and 
conventions  of  art- expression  change,  but  the  eternal  truths  of  existence 
remain  the  same  for  all  ages. 

It  is  such  truths  that  the  poet  embodies  in  his  work  ;  truths  that 
deal  with  the  strong  things  of  life  ;  the  sigh  of  the  sea,  the  trumpet-note 
of  the  thunder,  the  song  of  the  bird,  the  sunlight  and  the  dark,  the  fall 
of  a  leaf  from  the  tree,  of  a  star  from  Heaven,  the  nightingale's  lament, 
the  buzzing  of  a  gnat — all  blend  in  the  magician's  melody.  Love  pleads, 
Life  struggles,  Death  flings  wide  the  gates  of  understanding,  all  created 
things  are  busy — the  song  of  Drama,  doing  and  being. 

If  we  can  interpret  the  poet's  meaning,  we  shall  have  told  our  audi 
ence  something  of  the  touch  of  Nature  that  makes  the  whole  world  kin, 
something  of  the  realization  of  brotherhood  through  patriotism  and  the 
intensification  of  national  life.  We  shall  have  shown  them  something 
of  the  pride,  pomp,  and  circumstance  of  glorious  war  ;  something  of  the 
great  peace  enthroned  in  the  human  heart.  We  shall  have  given  them 
glimpses  of  the  pendulum  of  human  progress,  swinging  between  free 
development  for  the  individual  and  the  preservation  of  the  racial  type — 
liberty  under  the  law. 

Hither  come  pilgrims  from  the  ends  of  the  earth  to  enrich  them 
selves  and  their  fellows  with  those  ideas  for  which  Shakespeare  stands 
as  the  representative  genius  of  our  race,  as  the  master-poet  of  the  world. 

'  I  have  found  the  heart  of  England ',  preached  the  sage  from 


Bengal,  *  in  Stratford-on-Avon,  and  it  was  as  the  heart  of  Shakespeare  ; 
faithful,  yet  tolerant,  and  gentle  as  it  was  strong/ 

With  the  rhythmic  balance  of  Hellenic  movement,  and  with  all  the 
fervour  of  Hebraism,  Shakespeare  touches  the  secret  springs  of  character, 
reveals  the  wisdom  and  tenderness  of  Mother  Earth,  interprets  the 
language  of  bird  and  beast  and  flower,  and  manifests  a  Catholic  Chris 
tianity  that  acknowledges,  in  all  charity,  its  debt  to  and  dependence 
upon  a  noble  paganism. 

*  And  I  will  lead  you  forth  to  play  in  the  sunshine,  close  to  the 
waterfall,  in  a  land  of  vines  and  sunshine,  yea,  and  of  men  that  sing  far, 
far  away  for  ever.' 

F.  R.  BENSON. 

H.  B.  IRVING  41 


To  Shakespeare — the  man  of  the  theatre,  the  actor,  the  manager — 
we  of  the  theatre  pay  peculiar  homage.  To  the  men  of  letters,  the 
critics  and  commentators,  we  leave  Shakespeare  the  poet,  but  with  this 
reservation,  that  to  understand  truly  Shakespeare  and  his  work  it  is 
necessary  to  understand  something  of,  and  to  have  some  sympathy  with, 
the  theatre  ;  to  recognize  more  fully  than  some  writers  are  willing 
to  allow,  the  considerable  part  which  Shakespeare's  sense  of  the  theatre 
and  experience  of  its  art  played  in  the  development  of  his  genius.  The 
art  of  the  theatre  is  as  individual  a  thing  as  the  art  of  painting  or  sculpture, 
and  entirely  separate  and  distinct  from  the  art  of  the  poet  or  novelist. 
Its  conditions  are  circumscribed  and  peculiar,  the  talent  or  genius  for 
it  a  thing  apart.  No  play  can  live  in  the  theatre  by  purely  literary 
merit ;  poetic  genius  alone  cannot  make  an  actable  play.  The  theatre 
has,  at  times,  incurred  undeserved  reprobation  at  the  hands  of  those 
who  have  thought  that  success  as  poets  or  story-tellers  must  imply 
success  in  the  theatre ;  that,  if  they  condescended  to  bring  their  work 
on  to  the  stage,  they  would  have  no  difficulty  in  achieving  the  same 
success  which  had  attended  them  in  their  own  particular  art.  They 
have  forgotten  that  the  favours  of  the  Dramatic  Muse  are  as  difficult 
to  secure,  and  must  be  as  artfully  won,  as  those  of  any  other  of  the 
Muses.  The  poor  lady  has  sometimes  suffered  rudely  at  their  hands 
because  she  has  preferred  the  persistent  and  laborious  suitor  to  one 
too  confident  and  condescending  in  his  approach.  We  of  the  theatre 
know  that  Shakespeare  as  a  playwright  lives  on  the  stage  to-day  apart 
from  his  contemporary  dramatists  because  he,  alone  of  them  all,  was 
not  only  the  greatest  poet  but  the  one  great  dramatist  among  them.  He 
knew  from  inside  and  respected  the  medium  through  which  he  worked, 
the  temper  of  an  audience,  those  secrets  of  dramatic  effect  which,  to  the 
playwright,  represent  the  mechanism  of  the  well-told  story  or  the  well- 
ordered  poem.  In  short,  Shakespeare  knew  his  business  as  a  man  of 
the  theatre  ;  he  was  a  master-craftsman  in  his  day,  a  journeyman  at 


times,  a  genius  not  of  the  closet  but  of  the  stage  ;  and  for  that  very 
reason,  and  that  alone,  his  plays  hold  their  own  in  the  theatre  to-day,  in 
all  languages  and  among  all  civilized  peoples. 

As  actors  we  owe  our  homage  to  Shakespeare.  Never  more  than 
in  this  hour  of  our  country's  fate  has  he  been  an  inspiration  to  the  men 
of  his  calling  to  acquit  themselves  well,  *  to  make  mouths  at  the  in 
visible  event,  exposing  what  is  mortal  and  unsure  to  all  that  fortune, 
death  and  danger  dare '.  And  when  some  would  seek  to  strip  from  this 
actor's  brows,  because  he  was  an  actor,  the  laurels  of  his  genius,  we  reply 
that  those  who  know  something  of  the  world  of  the  theatre,  its  rivalry, 
never  more  keen  than  in  Shakespeare's  day,  who  can  picture  the  sur 
roundings  in  which  he  worked  and  strove  for  success,  are  convinced 
beyond  any  reasonable  doubt  that  it  would  have  been  impossible,  by 
all  the  laws  of  sense  and  probability,  for  a  dramatist  in  Shakespeare's 
position  to  have  foisted  on  to  his  colleagues  and  the  public  the  work  of 
another  brain.  So  sensational  and  vital  a  secret  of  authorship  could 
never  have  been  kept  in  the  small  world  of  the  theatre  of  that  day,  a 
world  of  active  competition  and,  we  know  in  Shakespeare's  case,  bitter 
jealousy.  We  of  the  theatre  realize  this,  and  to  us  such  a  consideration 
is  answer  enough  to  the  utmost  efforts  of  perverse  ingenuity.  Strong 
in  our  faith  we  pay  our  homage  to  this  actor  who  has  given  to  our 
English  theatre  an  heritage  of  which  we,  by  our  own  unaided  efforts, 
have  striven  in  the  past — and  are  striving  to-day — to  be  the  worthy 
repositories.  Our  greatest  desire  must  be  ever  to  follow  faithfully  the 
example  of  those  two  loyal  players  who  preserved  for  posterity  the  work 
*  of  so  worthy  a  friend  and  fellow  as  was  our  Shakespeare  '. 

H.  B.  IRVING. 



IN  time  of  war  it  is  well  to  do  homage  to  the  first  Englishman  who 
has  subjugated  the  enemy.  The  characteristic  thoroughness  of  the 
Teutonic  appreciation  of  Shakespeare  is  the  best  proof  of  the  com 
pleteness  of  his  triumph. 

But  an  infinitely  harder  task  still  awaits  him  :  the  subjugation  of 
England  is  yet  unachieved,  and  it  is  only  when  that  age-long  conflict 
is  complete  that  we  shall  be  able  to  celebrate  any  Shakespearian  anni 
versary  appropriately,  and  render  him  the  only  homage  which  would 
convince  him,  if  he  could  return  among  us,  that  his  countrymen  believe 
in  his  glory  and  value  his  achievement  at  its  surpassing  worth. 

Not  marble  nor  a  gilded  monument  can  accomplish  what  Shake 
speare  asks  from  us  ;  a  service  in  Stratford  Church  may  commemorate 
the  enclosing  of  his  dust ;  but  only  in  that  newer  temple  on  the  banks 
of  Avon  can  the  fitting  rite  be  held,  and  while  it  stands  solitary  in 
the  English  shires  it  would  be  impossible  to  persuade  his  spirit,  if  we 
knew  how  to  invoke  it,  that  the  tribute  of  our  commemoration  is  sincere 
or  anything  more  than  a  detachable  ornament  perfunctorily  pinned 
on  to  the  fabric  of  our  modern  life  for  occasions  of  display. 

Shakespeare's  infinite  variety  would  turn  that  of  Cleopatra  into 
a  monotony  if  they  could  be  set  in  comparison  ;  yet  age  would  appear 
to  have  withered  it,  custom  to  have  staled  it,  if  his  position  in  his  own 
country  were  the  only  standard  of  judgement.  For  several  generations 
it  has  seemed  a  noble  thought,  a  piece  of  profound  wisdom,  to  say  that 
he  is  too  great  for  the  theatre  and  that  he  can  only  yield  his  innermost 
riches  to  the  student  in  his  closet.  This  may  well  be  true  when  the 
student  in  his  closet  is  the  actor  busied  in  identifying  himself  with  his 
part ;  but  in  its  larger  application  this  doctrine  that  Shakespeare  can 
best  be  worshipped  in  a  temple  built  without  hands  has  been  held  long 
enough  for  us  to  ask  what  its  results  are,  and  to  note  that  during 
its  currency  the  English  theatre  has  descended  from  level  to  level  of 
debasement  and  cheapness. 


It  is  certainly  not  too  soon  to  urge  that  it  might  be  well  to  try 
worshipping  him  in  temples  built  with  hands  again.  Most  of  the  great 
poetry  in  the  world  was  written  for  the  sake  of  its  sound  in  men's  mouths ; 
it  should  be  apparent  that  this  was  especially  so  in  the  case  of  dramatic 
poetry,  yet  a  mischievous  by-product  of  the  invention  of  printing  has 
been  the  gradual  production  of  the  idea,  now  almost  become  an  instinct, 
that  poetry  is  half  a  visual  art,  a  pleasure  of  the  eye  to  be  gained  by  the 
look  of  words  on  printed  pages.  Yet  Milton,  sounding  his  lines  in  dark 
ness,  thought  as  little  of  testing  poetry  by  such  a  standard  as  Shakespeare 
did  when  he  supplied  his  theatre  with  manuscripts  and  left  them  there. 
Messieurs  Mouth  and  Company  are  as  truly  the  real  publishers  for  poetry 
as  they  were  in  the  days  of  Aeschylus,  and  England  will  never  know 
the  wonder  and  delight  and  awe-stirring  powers  of  Shakespeare  until 
his  words  are  heard  ten  thousand  times  oftener  than  they  are  printed, 
until  his  plays  become  again  part  of  the  daily  routine  of  English  theatres 
rather  than  the  hors-d'oeuvre  of  festivals,  and  the  total  seating  accommo 
dation  of  English  theatres  has  become  at  least  as  great  and  as  well 
distributed  as  the  total  seating  accommodation  of  English  churches 
and  chapels. 

If  he  had  been  born  before  the  Reformation  this  first  essential 
would  have  been  his  from  the  beginning,  for  he  would  have  worked  for 
the  universal  employer  that  gave  complete  and  endless  opportunities 
to  those  great  Italian  dramatists  Giotto  and  Giovanni  Bellini  and 
Tintoretto.  The  church  was  then  the  theatre  ;  and  sometimes  it  seems 
as  if  the  theatre  will  never  be  universal  again,  or  realize  its  opportunities 
adequately,  until  it  returns  to  the  church — or,  indeed,  until  the  church 
realizes  the  dramaturgic  nature  of  its  ceremonies  and  teaching,  and 
becomes  a  theatre. 

In  the  Middle  Ages  Shakespeare  thus  would  have  been  sure  of  an 
auditorium  and  an  instructed  audience  in  every  parish,  and  he  would 
have  been  a  national  possession  to  Englishmen  in  a  way  that  he  never 
has  been  yet.  In  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century  such  an  oppor 
tunity,  though  in  a  lesser  degree,  began  to  seem  possible  ;  modest 
theatres  with  stock  companies  sprang  up  in  most  of  the  comfortable 
country  towns  in  every  shire,  and  energy  and  resource  showed  itself 
everywhere  in  the  number  of  great  plays  taken  in  hand,  the  sustained 
interest  of  provincial  audiences  in  serious  drama,  and  the  number  of 
competent  actors  which  the  system  produced.  But  the  commercial 
development  of  England  came  and  altered  the  balance  of  importance 
of  the  provincial  towns,  and  was  followed  by  the  railways,  which 


centralized  the  satisfaction  of  the  community's  needs  at  a  few  nodal 
points  ;  and  the  whole  organization  disappeared. 

The  loss  was  very  real.  I  have  in  mind  the  district  with  which  I  am 
most  familiar,  a  rocky,  thinly  populated  stretch  of  country  on  the  north 
west  coast  of  England.  A  hundred  years  ago  its  life  and  activities 
centred  about  two  market-towns  at  its  borders  :  to-day  those  towns 
persist  little  changed,  perhaps  rather  larger  and  more  prosperous  under 
modern  conditions.  Their  amusements  are  administered  in  a  couple 
of  picture-palaces  and  a  modest  concert-hall  at  which  a  musical  comedy 
touring  company  occasionally  pauses  for  three  nights  :  no  one  would 
think  it  worth  his  while  to  build  a  theatre  in  either  of  them,  no  one  in 
his  senses  would  think  it  possible  to  maintain  a  stock  company  in  such  a 
theatre  even  if  it  were  built ;  yet  in  each  of  them  there  exists  intact  the 
physical  structure  of  what  was  a  well-appointed  theatre  in  the  days  of 
Mrs.  Siddons  and  Kean,  and  in  one  of  those  theatres — now  a  cheap 
dancing  academy — Kean  once  acted,  the  townsfolk  still  proudly  record. 
Kean  once  acted,  and  perhaps  Wordsworth  and  De  Quincey  applauded  ; 
for  there  De  Quincey  edited  the  local  paper,  and  thither  Wordsworth 
must  come  when  he  would  take  coach  for  the  outer  world.  But  neither 
Irving  nor  Forbes- Robertson  ever  acted  there,  and  it  is  safe  to  assume 
that  the  bicentenary  of  Shakespeare's  death  had  interest  and  reality 
in  many  mountain  villages  and  fell-side  farms  where  its  tercentenary 
will  pass  unrevered  or  unknown. 

In  devising  a  National  Memorial  to  keep  Shakespeare's  achieve 
ment  more  vividly  and  constantly  in  the  minds  of  his  countrymen,  it 
is  inevitable  that  a  metropolitan  theatre,  where  all  great  plays  may  find 
performance  regardless  of  dividends,  and  where  the  passage  of  time  may 
create  a  school  of  great  acting  and  severe  technique,  should  seem  most 
worth  working  for.  The  need  for  such  a  theatre  is  paramount  and  even 
peremptory,  if  only  to  provide  a  standard  and  an  authority  from  which 
young  poets  may  revolt,  and  upon  which  youth  in  general  may  spend 
its  passion  for  contradiction,  in  the  profitable  and  well-trained  fashion 
which  the  Royal  Academy  of  Arts  has  taught  to  six  generations  of 
brilliant  painters.  In  passing  it  may  be  urged  that,  when  such  a  theatre 
is  consummated,  it  might  well  profit  by  the  modern  discoveries  in 
theatre  construction  and  scenic  management  which  have  not  yet  reached 
London,  and  indeed  make  every  experiment  which  has  no  attraction 
for  syndicates  or  shareholders. 

But  when  such  a  theatre  is  finished,  the  task  of  building  Shake 
speare's  memorial  in  a  nation's  mind  will  only  be  begun.  Perhaps  it 


will  not  be  thought  irrelevant  that  a  rustic  and  provincial  writer  should 
insist,  even  tediously,  that  decentralization  and  universal  penetration 
alone  can  complete  the  work.  Such  touring  companies  as  those  of 
Mr.  F.  R.  Benson  do  something,  and  something  considerable  :  the 
isolated  enterprise  of  Mr.  Barry  Jackson  and  Mr.  John  Drinkwater  has 
raised  in  Birmingham  the  most  modern  theatre  in  England,  and  practises 
in  it,  with  a  stock  company,  the  performance  of  Shakespeare's  plays 
and  those  of  his  great  companions,  not  on  red-letter  days  alone,  but  as 
part  of  a  daily  duty.  If  such  a  theatre  as  the  Birmingham  Repertory 
Theatre  were  to  be  built  in  every  prosperous  town  in  England,  Shake 
speare  would  have  come  into  his  own  before  the  arrival  of  his  quater- 
centenary  ;  but  the  inertia  and  indifference  and  dislike  of  innovation, 
the  demand  for  the  minor  gaieties  and  the  baser  sentimentalities  now 
prevalent,  can  only  be  overcome  by  a  public  effort.  If  the  Memorial 
Committee  could  enlarge  its  scheme  to  include  provincial  memorial 
theatres,  and  companies  to  carry  the  seldom-seen  plays  to  every  part 
of  England,  Shakespeare  might  soon  be  the  popular  dramatist  in  his 
own  country  that  he  is  in  the  rest  of  Europe. 

I  yield  my  homage  earnestly  and  eagerly  to  the  creative  force  that 
worked  instinctively  and  easily  in  Nature's  way,  and  with  results  that 
were  Nature's  own  ;  to  the  mastery  of  the  deep  springs  of  mirth,  of 
a  superb  sense  of  design  working  with  human  bodies  as  its  integers, 
and  of  life's  supreme  illumination  by  tragic  splendour,  which  can  still 
make  the  world  seem  for  a  little  while  as  vivid  and  august  to  lesser  men 
as  it  was  continually  to  the  miracle-worker  himself  ;  but  I  cannot  help 
regretting  that  the  corporate  homage  of  Shakespeare's  countrymen 
should  still  be  so  imperfectly  at  Shakespeare's  service. 




EACH  bough  hung  quiet  in  its  place 

O'er  Stratford's  starry  lea, 
Yet  round  and  round  with  giddy  race 
I  saw  the  dead  leaves  flee, 
In  and  out 
In  eerie  rout — 
A  sight  most  strange  to  see. 
And  then  I  heard  with  quick  heart-beat 
Multitudinous  fairy  feet 
Marching  come 
With  elfin  hum 
And  music  faint  and  sweet. 

Within  a  beech's  hollow  trunk, 

Whose  bursting  buds  had  strowed 
Those  red,  dead  eddying  leaves,  I  shrunk 
And  breathless  there  abode, 
While  those  fine 
Fays  in  line 

Past  me  flowed  and  flowed. 
'Twas  Shakespeare's  Fairy  Host  indeed. 
Oberon  and  Titania  lead ; 
Then,  good  Troth  ! 
Puck,  Cobweb,  Moth, 
Pease-blossom,  Mustard  Seed. 


Thereat,  the  climate,  changing  quite, 

Yields  Athens  to  the  view, 
Beneath  whose  bright  Midsummer  Night 
Puck  plays  his  pranks  anew — 
Works  Bottom 's  strange 
And  monstrous  change  ; 
Befools  four  lovers  true  : 
And  in  requital  for  her  harms 
To  Oberon,  Titania  charms 
From  sleep  to  wake 
Bewitched  and  take 
An  Ass-head  to  her  arms  ! 

That  marvellous  Dream  on  English  Air 

Dissolves, — the  Host  moves  on, 
I  follow  them  from  out  my  lair 
O'er  moonlit  meadows  wan; 
Till  round  the  porch 
Of  Stratford  Church 
Like  bees  they  swarm  anon ; 
While  *  Hail,  all  Hail ! '    their  homage-cry 
Swells  sweetly  up  into  the  sky, 
*  For,  Master  Will, 
Thy  magic  skill 
Has  made  us  live  for  aye.' 


W.  P.  KER  49 


ENGLAND  and  Spain  in  the  great  age  seem  to  have  had  a  common 
understanding  of  many  things  ;  they  agreed  in  many  points  of  art 
without  debate  or  discussion,  or  any  overt  communication,  as  far  as  one 
can  make  out.  No  form  of  verse  in  French  or  Italian  resembles  English 
verse  in  its  rules  and  licences  as  does  the  Spanish  measure  called  arte 
mayor.  Even  the  trick  of  the  heroic  couplet  used  as  a  tag  at  the  end  of 
a  blank- verse  tirade  is  common  to  Lope  de  Vega  and  Shakespeare. 

In  several  passages  Cervantes  might  almost  be  translating  Sir  Philip 
Sidney.  The  great  dialogue  on  romance  and  the  drama  at  the  end  of 
the  first  part  of  Don  Quixote  (1605)  is  more  like  the  Apologie  for  Poetrie 
than  many  things  that  have  been  quoted  by  *  parallelists  '  as  evidence  of 
plagiarism  : 

What  greater  absurdity  can  there  be  in  drama  (says  the  Curate)  than  to  bring  in 
a  child  in  swaddling  clothes  at  the  beginning  of  the  first  act  and  to  find  him  in  the  second 
a  grown  man  and  bearded  ?  ...  As  for  the  observance  of  place  what  can  I  say  except  that 
I  have  seen  a  play  where  the  first  act  began  in  Europe,  the  second  in  Asia,  the  third  ended 
in  Africa,  and  if  there  had  been  a  fourth  it  would  have  passed  in  America,  and  so  the  play 
would  have  comprehended  the  four  quarters  of  the  world. 

In  the  previous  chapter  the  Canon  of  Toledo,  speaking  undoubtedly 
the  opinions  of  Cervantes,  had  described  an  ideal  of  romance  with  all 
that  devotion  to  classical  ideals  which  is  so  strong  in  Sidney.  The 
author  of  Don  Quixote,  writing  the  first  great  modern  novel  and  talking 
about  the  art  of  romance,  gives  as  his  ideal  of  prose  fiction  a  work  in 
which  all  the  characters  are  noble  classical  types — *  the  wit  of  Ulysses, 
the  piety  of  Aeneas,  the  valour  of  Achilles,  the  sorrows  of  Hector  ; 
treating  of  which  the  author  with  the  freedom  of  the  prose  form  may 
vary  his  style,  and  be  epic,  lyric,  tragical,  comical,  or  what  you  will ' — 
ending  with  the  weighty  sentence  :  *  For  Epic  can  be  written  not  only 
in  verse  but  in  prose.' 

It  might  be  a  description  of  Sidney's  Arcadia  ;  it  is  a  prophecy  of 
the  last  work  of  Cervantes,  Persilesy  Sigismunda,  the  serious  and  classical 


romance  in  which  he  imitated  Heliodorus.  Heliodorus,  thirty  years 
before,  had  been  saluted  by  Sidney  as  an  author  of  prose  epic  (which  is 
the  same  thing  as  heroical  romance)  : 

For  Xenophon  who  did  imitate  so  excellently  as  to  give  us  effigiein  jiisti  imperii,  the 
portraiture  of  a  just  empire,  under  the  name  of  Cyrus  (as  Cicero  saith  of  him)  made  therein 
an  absolute  heroical  poem.  So  did  Heliodorus  in  his  sugred  invention  of  that  picture  of 
love  in  Theagenes  and  Chariclea.  And  yet  both  these  write  in  prose,  &c. 

Cervantes  is  somewhere  between  Sidney  and  Shakespeare  in  his 
respect  for  the  classical  idols.  Sidney  and  Cervantes  are  subdued,  as 
Shakespeare  is  not,  in  presence  of  the  great  authorities.  The  imposture 
of  the  Renaissance,  the  superstitious  worship  of  literary  ideas,  is  shown 
most  clearly  in  reference  to  Heliodorus.  There  must  be  something  in 
prose  corresponding  to  epic  poetry.  So  Heliodorus  is  made  into  the 
pattern  of  heroic  romance,  almost  equal  to  Homer.  He  satisfies  the 
conditions  of  an  abstract  critical  theory.  Sidney  and  Cervantes — 
occasionally — revel  in  terms  of  literary  species.  So  does  Shakespeare, 
as  we  know ;  this  is  the  sort  of  intellect  that  Shakespeare  names 

Cervantes  spent  a  great  deal  of  time  in  the  service  of  conventional 
literary  ideals ;  but  if  he  wrote  the  Galatea,  he  also  wrote  Don  Quixote^ 
and  he  belonged  to  a  country  that  was  fond  of  fresh  life  in  its  stories. 
Shakespeare  kept  out  of  the  danger  of  Arcadia,  and  paid  respect  to  no 
literary  ideas  (such  as  heroic  poem  or  heroic  romance),  however  much 
they  might  be  preached  about  by  the  critics.  But  Shakespeare  had  few 
prejudices  ;  that  *  great  but  irregular  genius  '  did  not  scruple  to  use  the 
tricks  of  classical  tragedy  (e.g.  stichomythia),  if  it  suited  his  purpose  to 
do  so,  and  he  was  not  going  to  renounce  Arcadia  because  Polonius  and 
his  friends  were  eloquent  about  the  pastoral  idea.  Shakespeare  and 
Cervantes  agree  in  certain  places  with  regard  to  pastoral.  They  agree 
in  playing  a  double  game  about  it.  Pastoral  is  ridiculed  in  the  penance 
of  Don  Quixote  ;  yet  the  story  of  Don  Quixote  is  full  of  the  most 
beautiful  pastoral  episodes — Marcela  the  best  of  them,  it  may  be. 
As  You  Like  It  is  of  course  the  play  where  Shakespeare  criticises  pastoral, 
and  shows  the  vanity  of  it,  and  how  different  from  the  golden  world 
are  the  briers  of  the  forest  of  Arden  and  the  biting  of  the  northern  wind. 
We  are  not  seriously  taken  in  by  this  hypocrisy  ;  we  know  that  in  spite 
of  Touchstone  we  too  are  in  Arcadia,  in  the  rich  landscape  along  with 
youth  and  fair  speech.  Touchstone  leaves  Arcadia  much  as  it  was,  and 
the  appeal  to  the  dead  shepherd  proves  how  harmless  is  his  negative 

W.  P.  KER  51 

In  the  story  of  Preciosa,  the  Spanish  gipsy,  the  first  of  the  Novelas 
exemplar  es,  Cervantes  plays  for  an  effect  like  that  of  Shakespeare's  green 
wood  in  As  You  Like  It.  The  scene  is  not  Arcadia,  but  Madrid  and  the 
country  about  Toledo,  Estremadura  and  Murcia.  The  gipsies  of  the 
story  are  rogues  and  vagabonds.  But  the  story  is  a  pastoral  romance 
none  the  less  ;  the  free  life  of  the  gipsies  is  praised  in  such  terms  as 
turn  the  hardships  into  pleasant  fancies.  Preciosa  has  just  enough  of  the 
gipsy  character  to  save  the  author  from  instant  detection  ;  she  is  good 
at  begging,  and  she  has  the  professional  lisp.1  But  her  world  is  Arcadia, 
the  pure  pastoral  beauty  where  Florizel  and  Perdita  also  have  their  home. 
And  here,  to  end,  it  may  be  observed  that  Cervantes  and  Shakespeare 
with  Preciosa  and  Perdita  have  been  glad  to  repeat  the  old  device  of  the 
classical  comedy.  They  might  perhaps  have  done  without  it,  but  for 
the  sake  of  Preciosa  and  the  other  long-lost  child  we  spectators  will 
always  applaud  loudly  when  the  box  of  baby-things — irrjplSiov  yj/&>/>to>tarc»j/ 
— is  produced  in  the  last  scene,  to  bring  back  the  heroine  to  her  own 

W.  P.  KER. 

1  '  i  Quierenme  dar  barato  ?  cenores,  dijo  Preciosa,  que  como  gitana  hablaba  ceceoso, 
y  esto  es  artificio  en  ellos,  que  no  naturaleza.' — CERVANTES,  La  Gitanilla  de  Madrid. 

E  2 



AMONG  the  *  co-supremes  and  stars  of  love  *  which  form  the  con 
stellated  glory  of  our  greatest  poet  there  is  one  small  splendour  which  we 
are  apt  to  overlook  in  our  general  survey.     But,  if  we  isolate  it  from 
other  considerations,  it  is  surely  no  small  thing  that  Shakespeare  created 
and  introduced  into  our  literature  the  Dramatic  Song.    If  with  statistical 
finger  we  turn  the  pages  of  all  his  plays,  we  shall  discover,  not  perhaps 
without  surprise,  that  these  contain  not  fewer  than  fifty  strains  of  lyrical 
measure.     Some  of  the  fifty,  to  be  sure,  are  mere  star-dust,  but  others 
include  some  of  the  very  jewels  of  our  tongue.    They  range  in  form 
from  the  sophisticated  quatorzains  of  The  Two  Gentlemen  of  Verona 
(where,  however,  comes  *  Who  is  Silvia  ? ')  to  the  reckless  snatches  of 
melody  in  Hamlet.    But  all  have  a  character  which  is  Shakespearean, 
and  this  regardless  of  the  question  so  often  raised,  and  so  incapable  of 
reply,  as  to  whether  some  of  the  wilder  ones  are  Shakespeare's  com 
position  or  no.     Whoever  originally  may  have  written  such  scraps  as 

*  They  bore  him  bare-faced  on  the  bier '  and  *  Come  o'er  the  bourne, 
Bessy,  to  me ',  the  spirit  of  Shakespeare  now  pervades  and  possesses 

Our  poet  was  a  prodigious  innovator  in  this  as  in  so  many  other 
matters.  Of  course,  the  idea  and  practice  of  musical  interludes  in  plays 
was  not  quite  novel.  In  Shakespeare's  early  youth  that  remarkable  artist 
in  language,  John  Lyly,  had  presented  songs  in  several  of  his  plays,  and 
these  were  notable  for  what  his  contemporary,  Henry  Upchear,  called 

*  their  labouring  beauty  '.     We  may  notice  that  Lyly's  songs  were  not 
printed  till  long  after  Shakespeare's  death,  but  doubtless  he  had  listened 
to  them.    Peele  and  Greene  had  brilliant  lyrical  gifts,  but  they  did  not 
exercise  them  in  their  dramas,  nor  did  Lodge,  whose  novel  of  Rosalynde 
(1590)  contains  the  only  two  precedent  songs  which  we  could  willingly 
add  to  Shakespeare's  juvenile  repertory.     But  while  I  think  it  would  be 
rash  to  deny  that  the  lyrics  of  Lodge  and  Lyly  had  their  direct  influence 
on  the  style  of  Shakespeare,  neither  of  those  admirable  precursors 



conceived  the  possibility  of  making  the  Song  an  integral  part  of  the 
development  of  the  Drama.  This  was  Shakespeare's  invention,  and 
he  applied  it  with  a  technical  adroitness  which  had  never  been  dreamed 
of  before  and  was  never  rivalled  after. 

This  was  not  apprehended  by  the  early  critics  of  our  divine  poet,  and 
has  never  yet,  perhaps,  received  all  the  attention  it  deserves.  We  may 
find  ourselves  bewildered  if  we  glance  at  what  the  eighteenth-century 
commentators  said,  for  instance,  about  the  songs  in  Twelfth  Night.  They 
called  the  adorable  rhapsodies  of  the  Clown  *  absurd  '  and  *  unintelli 
gible  '  ;  '  O  Mistress  mine  '  was  in  their  ears  *  meaningless  ' ;  *  When 
that  I  was  '  appeared  to  them  *  degraded  buffoonery '.  They  did  not 
perceive  the  close  and  indispensable  connexion  between  the  Clown's 
song  and  the  action  of  the  piece,  although  the  poet  had  been  careful  to 
point  out  that  it  was  a  moral  song  '  dulcet  in  contagion ',  and  too  good, 
except  for  sarcasm,  to  be  wasted  on  Sir  Andrew  and  Sir  Toby.  The 
critics  neglected  to  note  what  the  Duke  says  about  '  Come  away,  come 
away,  Death ',  and  they  prattled  in  their  blindness  as  to  whether  this 
must  not  really  have  been  sung  by  Viola,  all  the  while  insensible  to 
the  poignant  dramatic  value  of  it  as  warbled  by  the  ironic  Clown  in  the 
presence  of  the  blinded  pair.  But  indeed  the  whole  of  Twelfth  Night 
is  burdened  with  melody  ;  behind  every  garden-door  a  lute  is  tinkling, 
and  at  each  change  of  scene  some  unseen  hand  is  overheard  touching 
a  harp-string.  The  lovely,  infatuated  lyrics  arrive,  dramatically,  to 
relieve  this  musical  tension  at  its  height. 

Rather  different,  and  perhaps  still  more  subtle,  is  the  case  of 
A  Winter's  Tale,  where  the  musical  obsession  is  less  prominent,  and 
where  the  songs  are  all  delivered  from  the  fantastic  lips  of  Autolycus. 
Here  again  the  old  critics  were  very  wonderful.  Dr.  Burney  puts 
1  When  daffodils  begin  to  peer  '  and  '  Lawn  as  white  as  driven  snow  ' 
into  one  bag,  and  flings  it  upon  the  dust-heap,  as  *  two  nonsensical  songs  ' 
sung  by  *  a  pickpocket '.  Dr.  Warburton  blushed  to  think  that  such 
1  nonsense '  could  be  foisted  on  Shakespeare's  text.  Strange  that  those 
learned  men  were  unable  to  see,  not  merely  that  the  rogue-songs  are 
intensely  human  and  pointedly  Shakespearean,  but  that  they  are  an 
integral  part  of  the  drama.  They  complete  the  revelation  of  the  com 
plex  temperament  of  Autolycus,  with  his  passion  for  flowers  and 
millinery,  his  hysterical  balancing  between  laughter  and  tears,  his 
impish  mendacity,  his  sudden  sentimentality,  like  the  Clown's 

Not  a  friend,  not  a  friend  greet 

My  poor  corpse,  where  my  bones  shall  be  thrown ! 


It  is  in  these  subtle  lyrical  amalgams  of  humour  and  tenderness  that  the 
firm  hand  of  the  creator  of  character  reveals  itself. 

But  it  is  in  The  Tempest  that  Shakespeare 's  supremacy  as  a  writer 
of  songs  is  most  brilliantly  developed.  Here  are  seven  or  eight  lyrics, 
and  among  them  are  some  of  the  loveliest  things  that  any  man  has 
written.  What  was  ever  composed  more  liquid,  more  elastic,  more 
delicately  fairy-like  than  Ariel's  First  Song  ? 

Come  unto  these  yellow  sands, 

And  then  take  hands: 
Curtsied  when  you  have,  and  kiss'd, — 

The  wild  waves  whist. 

That  is,  not  *  kissed  the  wild  waves  ',  as  ingenious  punctuators  pretend, 
but,  parenthetically,  *  kissed  one  another, — the  wild  waves  being  silent 
the  while.'  Even  fairies  do  not  kiss  waves,  than  which  no  embrace 
could  be  conceived  less  rewarding.  Has  any  one  remarked  the  echo  of 
Marlowe  here,  from  Hero  and  Leander, 

when  all  is  whist  and  still, 
Save  that  the  sea  playing  on  yellow  sand 
Sends  forth  a  rattling  murmur  to  the  land? 

But  Marlowe,  with  all  his  gifts,  could  never  have  written  the  lyrical  parts 
of  The  Tempest.  This  song  is  in  emotional  sympathy  with  Ferdinand, 
and  in  the  truest  sense  dramatic,  not  a  piece  of  pretty  verse  foisted  in  to 
add  to  the  entertainment. 

Ariel's  Second  Song  has  been  compared  with  Webster's  *  Call  for 
the  robin  redbreast '  in  The  White  Devil,  but,  solemn  as  Webster's  dirge 
is,  it  tolls,  it  does  not  sing  to  us.  Shakespeare's  *  ditty,'  as  Ferdinand 
calls  it,  is  like  a  breath  of  the  west  wind  over  an  Aeolian  harp.  Where, 
in  any  language,  has  ease  of  metre  triumphed  more  adorably  than  in 
Ariel's  Fourth  Song, — *  Where  the  bee  sucks  '  ?  Dowden  saw  in  Ariel 
the  imaginative  genius  of  English  poetry,  recently  delivered  from 
Sycorax.  If  we  glance  at  Dryden's  recension  of  The  Tempest  we  may 
be  inclined  to  think  that  the  *  wicked  dam '  soon  won  back  her  mastery. 
With  all  respect  to  Dry  den,  what  are  we  to  think  of  his  discretion  in 
eking  out  Shakespeare's  insufficiencies  with  such  staves  as  this  : 

Upon  the  floods  will  sing  and  play 
And  celebrate  a  halcyon  day ; 
Great  Nephew  Aeolus  make  no  noise, 
Muzzle  your  roaring  boys. 

and  so  forth  ?   What  had  happened  to  the  ear  of  England  in  seventy  years  ? 



As  a  matter  of  fact  the  perfection  of  dramatic  song  scarcely  sur 
vived  Shakespeare  himself.  The  early  Jacobeans,  Heywood,  Ford,  and 
Dekker  in  particular,  broke  out  occasionally  in  delicate  ditties.  But 
most  playwrights,  like  Massinger,  were  persistently  pedestrian.  The 
only  man  who  came  at  all  close  to  Shakespeare  as  a  lyrist  was  John 
Fletcher,  whose  *  Lay  a  garland  on  my  hearse  '  nobody  could  challenge 
if  it  were  found  printed  first  in  a  Shakespeare  quarto.  The  three  great 
songs  in  Vakntinian  have  almost  more  splendour  than  any  of  Shake 
speare's,  though  never  quite  the  intimate  beauty,  the  singing  spon 
taneity  of  '  Under  the  greenwood  tree '  or  *  Hark,  hark,  the  lark '.  It 
has  grown  to  be  the  habit  of  anthologists  to  assert  Shakespeare's  right 
to  '  Roses,  their  sharp  spikes  being  gone '.  The  mere  fact  of  its  loveli 
ness  and  perfection  gives  them  no  authority  to  do  so  ;  and  to  my  ear 
the  rather  stately  procession  of  syllables  is  reminiscent  of  Fletcher.  We 
shall  never  be  certain,  and  who  would  not  swear  that  *  Hear,  ye  ladies 
that  are  coy  '  was  by  the  same  hand  that  wrote  '  Sigh  no  more,  ladies ', 
if  we  were  not  sure  of  the  contrary  ?  But  the  most  effective  test,  even 
in  the  case  of  Fletcher,  is  to  see  whether  the  trill  of  song  is,  or  is  not, 
an  inherent  portion  of  the  dramatic  structure  of  the  play.  This  is  the 
hall-mark  of  Shakespeare,  and  perhaps  of  him  alone. 




DIED  APRIL  23,  1616 

AND  then — the  rest  ? 
What  did  he  find 
In  the  unfettered  universe  of  mind, 

To  whom  one  star  revealed 

Complete  and  unconcealed 
The  maze  of  various  man,  in  coloured  music  wrought — 

God's  rich  creative  thought 
Of  ardour,  grief,  and  laughter  all  compact — 
And  more,  beyond  the  patch  of  fenced  fact, 
Where  at  the  edge  of  dream  the  air  's  alive  with  wings, 
Showed  him  the  hidden  world  of  delicate  fair  things  ? 

With  what  new  zest, 

His  inward  vision  healed 
Of  rheumy  Time,  and  from  the  clipping  zone 

Of  Space  set  free, 

He  roamed  those  meadows  of  Eternity 
Where  the  storm  blows  that  comes  from  the  unknown 
To  shake  the  crazy  windows  of  the  soul 

With  gusts  of  strange  desire  ! 

Thrust  by  that  favouring  gale 
Did  he  set  out,  as  Prospero,  to  sail 
The  lonely  splendours  of  the  Nameless  Sea  ? 

Where  did  he  make  the  land  ? 
Upon  what  coasts,  what  sudden  magic  isles  ? 


And  what  quick  spirits  met  he  on  the  strand  ? 

What  new  mysterious  loves  swifter  than  fire 

Streaming  from  out  the  love  that  ever  smiles, 

What  musical  sweet  shapes,  what  things  grotesque  and  dear 

We  know  not  here, 
What  starry  songs  of  what  exultant  quire 

Now  fill  the  span 
Of  his  wide-open  thought,  who  grasped  the  heart  of  man  ? 

Saints  have  confest 

That  by  deep  gazing  they  achieve  to  know 
The  hiddenness  of  God,  His  rich  delight ; 

And  so 
There  's  a  keen  love  some  poets  have  possest, 

Sharper  than  sight 

To  prick  the  dark  that  wraps  our  spirits  round 
And,  beyond  Time,  see  men  in  its  own  light. 

Those  look  upon  His  face, 

These  in  a  glass  have  found 
The  moving  pageant  of  His  eager  will : 
All  the  nobility  and  naughtiness, 

Simplicity  and  skill 

Of  living  souls,  that  do  our  dusk  redeem 
With  flaming  deed  and  strangely-smouldering  dream. 
Great  contemplator  of  humanity  ! 
'Twas  thus  you  saw,  and  showed  to  us  again 
The  one  divine  immortal  comedy  : 
Horror  and  tears,  laughter  and  loveliness, 

All  rapture  and  all  pain 
Held  in  one  unity's  immense  embrace, 

Set  in  one  narrow  place. 
Now,  in  the  unwalled  playhouse  of  the  True, 
You  know  the  life  from  which  that  drama  drew. 




SHAKESPEARE  has  given  us  the  finest  interpretation  in  any  language 
of  one  of  the  central  doctrines  of  Greek  philosophy.  That  does  not 
mean,  of  course,  that  he  was  a  student  of  the  subject  in  the  ordinary 
sense.  Though  I  am  convinced  that  his  classical  attainments  were  far 
more  considerable  than  is  sometimes  supposed,  I  do  not  suggest  that 
he  had  read  Plato's  Timaeus.  What  I  claim  for  him  is  something  more 
than  that,  namely,  that  he  was  able  to  disentangle  the  essential  meaning 
of  the  Pythagorean  doctrines  preserved  in  that  dialogue,  though  these 
were  only  known  to  him  through  a  very  distorted  tradition.  Milton 
knew  them  well  in  their  original  form  ;  but  his  Platonism,  nobly  as  it 
is  expressed,  yet  lacks  a  touch  which  is  present  in  Lorenzo's  brief  dis 
course  on  Music  in  Act  V  of  the  Merchant  of  Venice.  It  may  be  worth 
while  to  add  that  such  sympathetic  interpretation  of  Greek  thought 
was  quite  *  out  of  the  welkin '  of  Francis  Bacon. 

The  commentators  fail  to  throw  much  light  on  Lorenzo's  theory. 
They  do  not  appear  to  have  heard  of  Plato's  Timaeus,  though  that 
dialogue  has  had  more  influence  on  European  literature  than  almost 
any  work  that  could  be  named,  and  though  it  is  the  ultimate  source  of 
so  much  that  is  best  in  English  literature  in  particular.  Above  all,  they 
do  not  possess  the  clue  to  the  whole  discourse,  namely,  the  Pythagorean 
doctrine  of  Music  as  the  *  purgation  '  (K.a.6apais)  of  the  soul.  Let  us 
see  whether,  with  that  clue  in  our  hands,  we  can  follow  Lorenzo's 
argument  more  closely,  and  state  his  theory  rather  more  fully  than  the 
exigencies  of  dramatic  art  have  allowed  him  to  state  it  himself. 

Let  us  start  from  the  words  *  Such  harmony  is  in  immortal  souls  ', 
and  note  at  once  that  the  term  *  harmony '  in  this  connexion  does  not 
bear  its  modern  meaning.  Greek  music  had  no  harmony  in  our  sense, 
and  apuovia  meant  *  scale  '  or  *  octave  '.  Now  the  sun,  the  moon,  and 
the  five  planets,  along  with  the  heaven  of  the  fixed  stars,  were  believed 
to  form  a  harmony  in  this  sense,  an  octave  scale,  the  intervals  of  which 
were  determined  by  the  distances  between  the  planetary  orbits.  That 


octave  has  its  counterpart  in  the  immortal  soul  of  each  one  of  us  ;  for 
the  circular  motions  of  the  soul  of  man  only  reproduce  on  a  smaller 
scale  the  mightier  revolutions  in  the  soul  of  the  world,  which  are  just 
the  paths  of  the  heavenly  orbs.  Were  it  not  for  the  earthly  and  perish 
able  nature  of  the  body,  our  souls  would  therefore  sound  in  perfect 
unison  with  the  grander  music  of  the  Cosmos.  As  it  is,  there  is  a  cor 
poreal  barrier  between  the  Soul  of  Man  and  the  Soul  of  the  World. 
The  function  of  Music  is  to  overcome  this  barrier,  and  it  can  do  so 
because  it  is  able  to  reach  the  soul,  while  its  scales  reproduce  the  intervals 
of  the  celestial  diapason.  It  is  thus  an  intermediary  between  the  uni 
verse  and  ourselves.  So,  when  we  hear  music,  our  nature  is  changed 
for  the  time,  the  motions  of  our  *  spirits  '  are  brought  into  accord  .with 
those  of  the  heavenly  bodies,  and  we  are  at  one  with  what  is  highest. 
We  see  rudimentary  traces  of  this  even  in  some  of  the  animals.  On  the 
other  hand,  a  human  soul  from  which  music  can  elicit  no  response  is 
altogether  out  of  tune  with  the  Soul  of  the  World.  It  is  not  only  the 
body  in  this  case  that  bars  the  way  ;  the  soul  itself  rings  untrue.  All 
that  is  Pythagorean  doctrine,  and  in  the  light  of  it  Lorenzo's  speech 
becomes  quite  clear. 

It  is  curious  that  Lorenzo  says  nothing  about  the  *  crystal  spheres  '. 
As  a  matter  of  fact,  these  are  a  later  addition  to  the  doctrine,  and  are 
not  to  be  found  in  the  Timaeus.  It  almost  looks  as  if  Shakespeare  saw 
them  to  be  irrelevant,  as  in  fact  they  are.  He  does,  however,  introduce 
one  modification  of  the  imagery,  which  gives  us  a  valuable  hint  as  to 
the  channels  through  which  it  reached  him.  In  the  Myth  of  Er  in 
Plato's  Republic  we  read  that  there  is  a  Siren  on  each  of  the  planetary 
rings  who  sings  in  monotone  her  proper  note  in  the  octave.  Lorenzo 
substitutes  angels  and  cherubim,  and  that  goes  back  in  the  long  run  to 
*  Dionysius  the  Areopagite  '.  We  may  fairly  infer  that  the  theory  of 
the  celestial  *  harmony  '  reached  Shakespeare,  as  it  reached  Dante,  in 
a  mediaeval  dress,  and  it  is  not  hard  to  see  how  that  may  have  come  about. 

Plato's  Timaeus  was  never  wholly  lost  to  western  Europe,  as  his 
other  dialogues  were  ;  for  the  greater  part  of  it  was  accessible  in  the 
Latin  version  of  Chalcidius  (fourth  century  A.  D.),  with  an  elaborate 
commentary  based  mainly  on  Posidonius.  In  that  commentary  the 
doctrine  is  to  be  found,  Sirens  and  all.  It  is,  says  Chalcidius,  the  con 
sortium  corporis  which  causes  the  ratio  harmonica  in  the  human  soul  to 
fade  away  into  oblivion,  so  that  the  souls  of  the  many  are  *  unmodu 
lated  '.  Music  is  the  cure  (medeld)  for  this  ;  for  it  alone  can  recall  the 
motions  of  our  soul  when  they  deviate  from  their  orbits  (exorbitantes) 


to  the  original  concord  (ad  veterem  symphoniam).  In  general,  we  may 
say  that  Posidonius,  who  was  specially  interested  in  early  Pythagorean- 
ism,  made  use  of  his  knowledge  to  illuminate  the  obscurities  of  the 
Timaeus  y  and  that  Chalcidius  handed  on  the  torch  to  the  Middle  Ages. 

The  School  of  Chartres  was  the  legitimate  successor  of  Plato's 
Academy,  and  its  teaching  was  based  on  the  work  of  Chalcidius.  In 
the  twelfth  century  Bernard  Silvester  of  Tours  sought  to  rival  the 
Timaeus  itself  in  his  De  mundi  universitate,  and  it  was  he  that  made  the 
terms  Macrocosm  and  Microcosm  familiar.  They  are  not  to  be  found 
in  Greek,  though  Philo  and  others  speak  of  man  as  a  tuKpo?  or  Ppaxv? 
/coV/ioy,  the  brevis  mundus  of  Chalcidius.  It  is  here  too  that  personified 
Nature  makes  her  appearance,  practically  for  the  first  time.  Then  comes 
the  De  planctu  naturae  of  Alan  of  Lille,  to  whom  Chaucer  refers  his 
readers  for  a  description  of  the  goddess  Nature,  and  from  whom  he 
borrows  her  designation  as  '  God's  vicar  general '.  The  Platonism  of 
Chartres  was  popularized  by  Jean  de  Meung's  continuation  of  the 
Roman  de  la  Rose,  and  by  the  fifteenth  century  the  leading  doctrines 
of  the  Timaeus  were  common  property,  especially  in  England.  There 
was  an  eager  desire  to  know  more  of  Plato,  and  Humphrey,  Duke  of 
Gloucester,  procured  a  translation  of  the  Phaedo  and  the  Meno  from 
Sicily.  Inevitably  this  interest  in  Platonism  was  reflected  in  the  Morali 
ties  of  the  next  age,  which  betray  their  affiliation  to  the  school  of  Chartres 
by  the  leading  part  they  often  assign  to  Nature,  a  personification  practi 
cally  unknown  in  continental  literature  till  a  later  date,  but  of  the  highest 
importance  for  English  poetry  and  English  science.  Obvious  examples 
are  the  Interlude  oj  the  Four  Elements  (though  that  is  Aristotelian,  not 
Platonic),  and  The  Marriage  of  Wit  and  Science,  the  very  title  of  which 
is  pure  Plato.  It  is  a  probable  conjecture  that  Shakespeare's  Platonism 
first  came  to  him  from  sources  of  this  kind,  which  would  account  for 
the  angels  and  the  cherubim,  though  we  must  not  exclude  other  possi 
bilities.  It  is  certain,  at  any  rate,  that  there  was  a  vast  mass  of  floating 
traditional  lore,  of  Pythagorean  and  Platonic  origin,  in  the  England  of 
Shakespeare's  youth,  and  that  he  was  just  the  man  to  be  influenced 
by  it. 

The  '  muddy  vesture  of  decay  '  deserves  a  few  words  to  itself. 
The  Pythagoreans  generally  spoke  of  the  body  as  the  tomb  or  prison 
of  the  soul,  but  there  was  also  an  old  Orphic  doctrine  that  the  body 
was  the  soul's  garment  (\LTWV).  At  a  later  date  this  was  revived  in 
Gnostic  circles  and  the  '  vesture '  was  identified  with  the  coats  of  skins 


t)  made  by  God  for  Adam  and  Eve.  The  image 
was  adopted  by  Porphyry  and  his  successors,  and  so  passed  into 
mediaeval  Platonism.  The  epithets  *  muddy '  (xoMs)  and  *  of  decay ' 
(<j)0apTo?)  reveal  the  origin  of  the  phrase,  however  it  may  have  reached 
Shakespeare.  He  can  hardly  have  got  it  from  St.  Paul ;  for  *  muddy  ' 
is  a  more  accurate  rendering  of  x°iK°s  than  the  terrenus  of  the  Vulgate 
or  the  *  earthy  '  of  the  English  version. 

The  result  of  all  this  is  that  Shakespeare  has  picked  out  the  pure 
gold  from  the  dross  with  an  unerring  instinct.  The  Aristotelian  and 
Scholastic  accretions  which  disfigured  the  doctrine  have  all  dropped 
away,  and  the  thought  of  Pythagoras  stands  revealed  in  its  original 
simplicity.  We  need  not  wonder  at  that.  The  sympathetic  insight 
into  another  soul,  which  is  the  gift  of  the  interpreter,  is  at  bottom 
the  same  thing  as  dramatic  genius.  It  is,  after  all,  no  great  marvel 
that  the  creator  of  Hamlet  and  Falstaff  could  also  recreate  Pythagoras 
from  the  stray  hints  tradition  had  preserved. 





A  Quatorzain  in  the  commendation  oj  Master  William  Shakespeare  and 

his  Country y  wherein  the  Author  hath  imitated,  albeit  imperfectly, 

the  manner  of  our  Elizabethan  poets. 

OUR  own  Thou  art,  and  England's  self  in  Thee, 

Drest  in  the  rare  perfections  of  thy  book, 

As  some  fair  queen  may  in  her  mirror  look 

To  learn  where  lies  her  beauty's  mystery. 

Thyself  art  England,  all  the  world  may  see, 

Her  tongue,  her  pen  ;   so  has  thy  Muse  outgone 

The  quire  of  Castaly  and  Helicon 

And  quite  o'erpassed  their  starry  Italy. 

Thus  hast  thou  conquered  Time  who  conquers  men, 

And  writ  alone  her  virtue's  argument ; 

Here  is  our  England's  wealth  :  what  wonder  then 

That  this  thy  page  breeds  more  astonishment 

Than  that  famed  garden  set  i'  the  ocean  seas 

Or  fabled  fruit  of  the  Hesperides. 


The  chief  ground  and  matter  of  this  sonnet  resteth  upon  a  tale  set  forth 
by  the  philosopher  and  mythologian  Plato,  in  the  tenth  book 

of  his  nOAITEIA. 

As  on  the  spindle  of  Necessity 

Roll  the  bright  orbs  of  being,  ring  on  ring, 

To  the  unwearied  song  the  Sirens  sing, 

Nor  age  nor  falter  on  the  eternal  way  ; 

So  in  thy  Heavens,  child  of  destiny, 

On  music's  wide  imperishable  wing, 

All  years  above  or  season's  reckoning, 

Star  follows  star  in  crystalline  array. 

There  too  the  Fates  enthron'd  may  each  one  see, 

Calm  memorable  goddesses,  and  mark 

How  the  lot  falls  to  that  man  or  to  this, 

And  ponder  in  his  heart  each  firm  decree, 

Ere  on  the  ultimate  ocean  he  embark 

Himself  to  hear  the  doom  of  Lachesis. 






THERE  is  no  English  poet  to  whom  music  has  been  a  more  intimate 
and  vital  source  of  inspiration  than  it  was  to  Shakespeare.  His  lyrics 
are  the  purest  melodies  in  our  language  :  his  plays  are  instinct  with  the 
impulse  and  delight  of  song  :  it  is  music  that  soothes  the  love  sickness 
of  Orsino,  that  fills  the  starry  night  when  Lorenzo  and  Jessica  exchange 
their  vows,  that  sets  the  fairies  circling  round  the  couch  of  Titania,  that 
pours  new  enchantment  over  the  magic  of  Prospero's  isle.  The  whole 
air  is  filled  with  the  concourse  of  sweet  sounds  :  under  Sylvia 's  window, 
in  Katherine's  chamber,  before  the  porch  of  Mariana's  moated  grange  : 
Cleopatra  cannot  go  a-fishing  without  her  minstrels,  the  jolly  hunters 
in  Arden  Forest  celebrate  their  quarry  with  a  rousing  chorus.  Even  in 
the  darkest  hours  of  tragedy  music  comes  as  a  relief  and  a  consolation  : 
Desdemona  sings  of  her  forebodings  ;  Ophelia  of  her  broken  heart ; 
Edgar,  on  the  storm-swept  heath,  breaks  into  half-forgotten  fragments 
of  wild  melody.  And  behind  all  these  grave  matters  of  character  and 
incident,  of  suspended  fortunes  and  final  issue,  stretches  the  broad 
country-side  which  Shakespeare  loved  ;  the  dancers  on  the  village- 
green  keeping  time  to  the  pipe  and  tabor  ;  the  reapers  *  three-man 
song-men  all  and  very  good  ones,  but  they  are  most  of  them  means  and 
basses  ' ;  Autolycus  with  his  pack  of  ballads  singing  along  the  footpath 
way  ;  roisterers  joining  in  a  catch  at  the  ale-house  door  :  a  coppice  of 
wood-notes,  artless  and  untaught,  carolling  for  very  joy  and  fullness 
of  life. 

It  is  therefore  notable  that  the  age  of  Shakespeare  was  also  the 
greatest  and  most  fertile  in  the  history  of  our  national  music.  The 
first  English  madrigal  was  printed  in  1588  :  for  a  generation  before 
that  we  had  held  honourable  rivalry  with  the  Flemish  and  Italian 
church  composers  ;  during  the  generation  which  followed  we  may 
claim  to  have  won  our  way  to  pre-eminence.  Tallis,  who  died  in  1585, 
summed  up  in  his  own  work  all  the  strength  and  skill,  all  the  vigour  and 
learning  which  the  music  of  his  time  could  attain :  William  Byrd,  his 

W.  H.  HADOW  65 

younger   colleague — perhaps   his   pupil — added    a   new   sweetness   of 
melody,  a  new  grace  of  style,  and,  what  is  of  far  greater  moment,  a  sense 
of  the  depth  and  mystery  of  music  which  is  comparable  to  that  of 
Shakespeare  himself.    And  close  upon  Byrd  follows  a  noble  procession 
of  madrigal  composers  :    Weelkes  and  Wilbye,  Bennet  and  Bateson, 
Morley  who  calls  Byrd  *  my  loving  master  ',  and  Gibbons  who  was 
honoured  by  his  collaboration  :  to  the  Triumphs  of  Oriana  twenty-five 
Englishmen  contributed,  and  every  work  is  a  masterpiece.    Nor  were 
the  performers   less   conspicuous.      Dowland  was   the  most  famous 
lutenist  in  Europe  :    Bull  and  Philips  were  among  the  most  famous 
organ-players :  the  pieces  in  the  Fitzwilliam  Virginal  Book  testify  to 
an  astonishing  degree  of  skill  and  proficiency.    And  all  this  garden  of 
delights  grew  from  a  soil  ready  prepared  for  it.    Music,  in  Elizabeth's 
reign,  was  taken  for  granted  as  a  part  of  every  one's  education.    '  Supper 
being  ended/  says  Philomathes,1  *  and  Musicke  bookes  (according  to 
the  custome)  being  brought  to  the  table  :   the  mistresse  of  the  house 
presented  me  with  a  part  earnestly  requesting  me  to  sing.    But  when 
after  many  excuses,  I  protested  unfainedly  that  I  could  not,  every  one 
began  to  wonder.    Yea,  some  whispered  to  others  demanding  how  I  was 
brought  up.'    Queen  Elizabeth  was  a  skilful  performer  on  the  virginals, 
and  readily  forgave  the  indiscreet  ambassador  who  had  overheard  her, 
on  his  assurance  that  she  played  better  than  Mary  Queen  of  Scots. 
Many  of  the  instrumental  pieces  which  still  survive  are  severally  dedi 
cated  to  lords  and  ladies  of  the  court :   some  are  marked  with  special 
instructions  for  the  patrons  who  were  to  play  them  :    some  are  by 
amateur  composers,  Robert  Hales,  for  instance,  and  *  Mr.  Daniells  ', 
and  Captain  Tobias  Hume  whose  '  profession  hath  been  that  of  arms  * 
and  whose  music  *  hath  been  always  generous  because  never  merce- 
narie '.     It  is  true  that  the  society  of  Shakespeare's  time  anticipated 
our  own  in  the  hospitable  welcome  which  it  offered  to  the  artists  of 
foreign  countries.     *  Some  there  be',  says  Campion  in  1613,  'who 
admit  only  French  and  Italian  aires,  as  if  every  country  had  not  its 
proper  aire  which  the  people  thereof  naturally  usurp  in  their  music.' 
But,  apart  from  passing  fashion,  such  generosity  was  the  intercourse 
of  nations  which  could  meet  on  terms  of  comradeship,  and  was  repaid, 
at  least  in  part,  by  the  respect  that  was  shown  to  our  musicians  abroad. 
The  wealthier  houses  in  Shakespeare's  time  had  at  disposal  a  large 
variety  of  musical  instruments.     The  organ  was  rarely  to  be  found 
among  them,  though  Chappington  and  Dalham  were  famous  organ- 

1  Morley,  A plaine  and  easie  introduction  to  Practical!  Mnsicke,  p.  i. 



builders,  but  the  regal,  a  small  portative  organ,  was  not  uncommon, 
and  the  virginal *  stood  in  high  favour  among  the  ladies  of  the  household. 
It  is  the  more  noteworthy  that  Shakespeare  never  mentions  either  of 
these  by  name  (he  uses  '  virginalling  '  as  a  metaphor  in  The  Winter's 
Tale),  and  that  his  only  description  of  a  virginal  player  has  been  censured 
by  careful  critics  for  a  technical  mistake.  The  recorders 2,  which 
provide  Hamlet  with  a  text,  were  ripple-flutes  of  special  construction, 
bored  with  not  less  than  eight  holes  and  usually  kept  in  a  quartet  of 
differing  compass  that  they  might  harmonize  together  into  a  consort. 
The  same  practice  obtained  with  the  viols — treble,  alto,  tenor,  and 
bass — the  last  of  these  being  the  viol  da  gamba  which  Sir  Andrew 
Aguecheek  *  played  better  than  any  man  in  Illyria  '.  The  *  leero  ' 
viol — the  Italian  lira  da  braccio — is  occasionally  mentioned  as  an  under 
study  :  the  *  scoulding  violins  ',  as  Mace  calls  them,  though  sometimes 
used  in  ensembles,  were  still  harsh  and  untuneful ;  fitter  for  the  country 
fair  than  for  the  ears  of  civilized  society.  But  by  far  the  most  popular 
of  all  instruments  was  the  lute.  As  a  manly  accomplishment  it  ranked 
but  little  below  the  sword — indeed  Richard  Crookback  morosely 
complains  that  grim-visaged  War  had  given  it  place  :  it  formed  an 
essential  part  of  every  song  accompaniment  from  Dowland  to  Campion  : 
in  the  very  barbers'  shops,  where  now  we  have  newspapers  and  comic 
prints,  a  lute  hung  ready  to  solace  the  waiting  customer.  Three  or  four 
kinds  of  guitar  are  also  mentioned  in  the  compositions  of  the  time — 
the  cittern,  flat-backed  and  wire-stringed,  to  the  carved  head  of  which 
Holofernes  the  schoolmaster  is  disrespectfully  compared ;  the  pandora 
which,  in  spite  of  its  outlandish  name,  seems  to  have  been  invented 
by  a  Londoner ;  the  orphereon,  dainty  in  shape  but  rather  awkward  to 
handle  ;  yet  though  all  these  had  their  votaries — the  Imperial  Votaress 
among  them — they  never  challenged  the  pre-eminence  of  the  lute 
proper.  The  accusation  that  it  was  expensive  in  strings  is  indignantly 
denied  by  its  champion  Thomas  Mace,  and  if  true  marks  its  only  fault : 
it  was  graceful  in  shape  and  sweet  in  tone,  effective  but  not  exacting, 
and  the  music  for  it  was  written  in  a  tablature  which  is  one  of  the 
easiest  forms  of  notation  ever  invented.  A  few  other  instruments  might 
be  added — the  transverse  flute,  the  harp,  the  various  kinds  of  flageolet — 
but  even  without  these  there  is  enough  to  show  that  the  virtuoso  of  the 
time  had  an  abundance  of  choice. 

1  The  name  virginal  was  then  commonly  applied  to  all  keyed  instruments  in  which  the 
string  was  plucked  with  a  quill. 

2  See  Christopher  Welch's  Six  Lectures  on  the  Recorder. 

W.  H.  HADOW  67 

Combinations  of  instruments,  so  ordered  as  to  produce  a  harmo 
nious  scheme  of  colour,  were  as  yet  somewhat  crude  and  primitive. 
The  four  viols  often  doubled  and  sometimes  replaced  the  singers  in 
a  madrigal  :  the  bass  viol  supported  the  lute  in  the  accompaniments 
of  '  aires  '  :  more  elaborate  were  the  consort  lessons  of  Morley  and 
Rosseter,  written  for  treble  and  bass  viols,  pandora,  cittern,  and  recorder, 
and  larger  bands  of  what  was  commonly  called  *  broken  music  '  were 
employed  for  masques  and  at  wedding-feasts.1  The  louder  instruments 
— hautbois,  shawms,  trumpets,  cornets,  sackbuts,  and  drums — were 
usually  reserved  for  occasions  of  special  state  and  pageantry,  and  their 
choice  seems  to  have  aimed  more  at  volume  than  at  balance  of  sound.2 
Indeed  one  of  the  oddities  of  nomenclature  is  the  current  adoption  of 
the  word  *  noise  ',  without  any  malicious  intent,  for  a  band  of  musicians 
and  more  distinctively  of  string-players.  When  the  drawer  at  the 
Boar's  Head  bids  his  fellow  *  see  if  thou  cannot  find  out  Sneak's  noise  ' 
he  is  merely  making  use  of  an  accepted  technical  term.  It  is  the  more 
remarkable  because  the  '  chamber '  music  of  the  time,  and  especially 
that  played  upon  strings,  would  seem  to  our  ears  soft  in  tone,  and — 
except  for  a  few  dance  measures — grave  in  character.  A  valuable  piece 
of  evidence  on  the  whole  subject  may  be  found  in  the  third  Century  of 
Bacon's  Sylva  Sylvarum  : 

All  concords  and  discords  of  music  are  (no  doubt)  sympathies  and  antipathies  ot 
sounds.  And  so  likewise  in  that  music  which  we  call  broken  music,  or  consort  music, 
some  consorts  of  instruments  are  sweeter  than  others  (a  thing-  not  sufficiently  yet  observed)  as 
the  Irish  harp  and  base  viol  agree  well ;  the  recorder  and  stringed  music  agree  well ;  organs 
and  the  voice  agree  well,  &c. :  but  the  virginals  and  the  lute,  or  the  Welsh  harp  and  Irish 
harp,  or  the  voice  and  pipes  alone,  agree  not  so  well.  But  for  the  melioration  of  music 
there  is  yet  much  left  (in  this  point  of  exquisite  consorts)  to  try  and  inquire. 

For  some  reason,  not  yet  sufficiently  explained,  the  stream  of 
ecclesiastical  music  which  had  been  since  the  days  of  Henry  VII  one  of 
the  chief  glories  of  English  art  began  at  the  close  of  the  century  to  run 
for  a  while  with  thinner  and  shallower  volume.  Byrd  published 
nothing  between  1591  and  1607  :  Morley  wrote  some  pieces  for  the 
church  service,  but  his  heart  was  in  ballet  and  madrigal :  Bering, 
Tomkins,  Gibbons,  belong  to  the  later  period.  It  would,  perhaps,  be 
indiscreet  to  attribute  to  this  the  fact  that  Shakespeare  makes  hardly 

1  See  Galpin's  Old  English  Instrtiments  of  Music,  ch.  xv, 4  The  Consort.' 

2  The  band  which   played  at  Queen   Elizabeth's  funeral  comprised  seven  each  ot 
violins,  recorders,  and  flutes,  six  hautbois   and  sackbuts,  six  '  lutes  and  others ',    four 
*  drums  and  fifes ',  and  no  less  than  twenty -two  trumpets.     See  The  King's  Music,  by 
H.  C.  de  Lafontaine,  p.  45. 

F  2 


any  mention  of  church  music,  except  of  the  unorthodox  sort  illustrated 
by  the  dirge  in  Much  Ado  About  Nothing.  Falstaff  incredibly  maintains 
that  he  lost  his  voice  *  singing  of  anthems  ',  but  even  he  admits  that  he 
has  *  forgotten  what  the  inside  of  a  church  is  made  of ',  and  of  his 
fellow  choristers  there  are  few  or  none.  At  the  same  time  Shakespeare 
good-humouredly  banters  an  abuse  from  which  our  church  music  has 
often  suffered — the  forcible  adaptation  to  sacred  words  of  incongruous 
secular  melodies.  The  *  puritan  '  in  The  Winter's  Tale,  who  *  sang 
psalms  to  hornpipes  *,  is  hardly  a  caricature  :  Greensleeves,  in  spite  of 
Mistress  Page's  protest,  was  actually  *  moralized  to  the  Scriptures  ' 
and  used  as  a  hymn.  Among  the  secular  vocal  forms  the  madrigal  held 
pride  of  place  :  next  came  the  aires  and  ballets,  of  lighter  character 
and,  as  a  rule,  of  more  recurrent  rhythm.  The  aires  add  an  interesting 
chapter  to  the  history  of  the  solo  song.  Dowland  writes  them  in  four 
parts,  *  so  made  that  all  the  parts  together  or  either  of  them  severally 
may  be  sung  to  the  lute  orpherion  or  viol  de  gambo  '.  Campion,  a  few 
years  later,  writes  in  the  first  instance  for  the  solo  voice,  but  adds  that 
*  upon  occasion  they  have  been  filled  in  with  more  parts  which  whoso 
pleases  may  use,  who  likes  not  may  leave '.  It  is  possible  that  the 
difference  marks  a  definite  advance  in  the  skill  and  proficiency  of  the 
singer.  Most  of  Shakespeare's  soloists  are  boys  or  women,  and  of  the 
two  most  notable  exceptions  one  is,  for  a  vocalist,  unusually  profuse  in 

There  were  four  chief  types  of  instrumental  music  :  descriptive 
pieces,  like  Mundy's  *  Weather '  and  the  *  Stag  hunt '  of  Tobias  Hume  ; 
airs  with  variations  ;  fantasies  or  fancies,  not  the  artless  ditties  of 
Justice  Shallow  but  elaborate  contrapuntal  pieces  which  developed 
during  this  period  into  the  organized  structure  of  the  fugue  ;  and,  most 
widely  beloved  of  all,  the  dance-measures.  The  first  English  collection 
of  dances  appears  to  be  that  which  Anthony  Holborne  published  in 
1599,  but  before  this  there  were  many  examples  in  common  use  :  the 
pavan,  called  par  excellence  '  the  measure  ',  and  described  by  Beatrice 
as  *  full  of  state  and  ancientry  ' ;  the  galliard  or  sink-a-pace,  which 
followed  it  as  the  humorous  servant  follows  the  hero  in  a  Spanish 
comedy  ;  the  almain,  with  its  strong  rhythm  and  its  texture  of  crotchets  ; 
the  jig,  as  *  hot  and  hasty  '  as  courtship,  *  and  full  as  fantastical '.  The 
choice  is  narrower  than  that  of  contemporary  French  music,  narrower 
even  than  that  of  our  own  seventeenth  century,  but  it  bears  full  witness 
to  the  joy  and  delight  of  dancing,  and  it  spreads  through  the  plays  from 

1  Much  Ado  About  Nothing,  II.  in. 

W.  H.  HADOW  69 

the  pageantry  of  Capulet  or  Leonato  to  the  Hay  of  honest  Dull,  and  the 
bergomask  of  the  Athenian  clowns. 

When  music  entered  so  deeply  into  the  life  of  the  people  it  is 
natural  that  it  should  occupy  a  considerable  place  in  dramatic  repre 
sentation.1  The  performance  usually  began  with  a  flourish  of  trumpets, 
their  cue  given,  as  Dekker  said,  by  *  the  quaking  prologue  ' ;  trumpets 
and  drums  were  used  for  the  entry  of  great  personages,  or  for  the 
martial  music  of  battles ;  the  banquet  in  Timon  has  its  consort  of 
hautbois,  As  You  Like  It  ends  with  a  dance,  Twelfth  Night  with  a  song. 
The  dumb-shows  were  accompanied  by  instruments  often  specially 
chosen  for  dramatic  effect  :  dance-music  whiled  away  the  time  between 
the  acts  of  Comedy,  and  not  improbably  between  the  acts  of  Tragedy 
as  well.  Private  theatres,  influenced  no  doubt  by  Italian  usage,  em 
ployed  highly  skilled  bands  of  performers  and  installed  them  in  a  music- 
room  at  the  side  of  the  stage  :  public  theatres,  where  the  accommodation 
was  narrower  and  the  musicians  of  humbler  rank,  sent  them  to  the 
tiring-room  or  the  balcony,  or  some  other  place  of  makeshift,  where  the 
audience  criticized  them  unmercifully  and  often  interrupted  them  to 
call  for  a  favourite  tune.  It  was  all  very  simple  and  unsophisticated, 
but  it  had  far  more  vitality  than  the  self-conscious  and  Alexandrine 
art  of  a  later  day. 

For  the  central  characteristic  of  all  our  Elizabethan  music  is  its 
spontaneity.  Not  that  it  was  unlearned — the  madrigal  composers 
were  men  of  immense  learning — but  from  highest  to  lowest  it  was 
infused  with  the  large  elemental  feelings  of  our  common  humanity. 
The  same  spirit  of  adventure  which  animated  explorers  and  seamen 
ran  through  every  pulse  of  the  national  life  :  the  vigour  and  manhood 
which  could  do  everything  because  it  dared  everything,  conquered  the 
provinces  of  art  as  it  overran  the  Indies  or  circumnavigated  the  globe. 
There  is  no  truth  in  the  saying  that  the  arts  have  prospered  best  amid 
a  decadent  people  :  they  are  the  natural  expression  of  chivalry  and 
fearlessness  and  high  enterprise.  Shakespeare  consummated  the 
greatest  age  in  our  history  :  it  is  no  coincidence  that  he  found  among 
his  contemporaries  a  music  which  we  have  never  surpassed. 

1  See,  on  this  subject,  Mr.  Cowling's  excellent  monograph  Music  on  the  Shakespearean 

W.  H.  HADOW. 



VERY  few  of  Shakespeare's  plays  deal  with  music  as  minutely  as  is 
done  in  The  Taming  of  the  Shrew.  The  lover's  disguise  as  a  music- 
master,  that  situation  which  Beaumarchais  and  Rossini  turned  to  such 
good  account  in  later  years,  amply  justifies  a  freer  use  of  technical  terms 
than  Shakespeare  allows  himself  elsewhere.  And  it  is  curious  that  even 
apart  from  the  character  of  Hortensio,  another  musical  allusion  is  made, 
in  the  scene  where  Petruchio  wrings  Grumio  by  the  ears,  and  says 
'  I'll  try  how  you  can  sol-fa  and  sing  it !  '  It  would  almost  seem  as 
though,  in  view  of  the  very  technical  passage  that  was  to  come  in 
Act  in,  Shakespeare  felt  at  liberty  to  make  a  joke  that  only  the  more 
musical  people  in  the  audience  would  understand.  Besides  the  use  of 
the  syllables  sol-fa  in  musical  notation,  these  two  were  used,  of  course 
by  derivation  from  the  other  meaning,  to  denote  the  stick  or  roll  of 
paper  for  beating  time.  It  is  at  least  possible  that  the  order  to  Grumio 
to  knock  at  Hortensio 's  door  implies  that  the  servant  had  a  stick  in 
his  hand. 

In  the  scene  where  Hortensio  has  the  lute  broken  over  his  head 
appears  the  pun  on  the  word  *  fret '  which  was  afterwards  repeated 
in  Hamlet.  There  the  joke  is  a  little  forced,  for  a  recorder,  being  a 
wind  instrument,  has  no  frets.  Frets  are  an  essential  feature  of  instru 
ments  of  the  lute  family  ;  they  are  the  fixed  or  movable  bars  across  the 
fingerboard  which  make  it  easier  for  the  player  to  keep  in  tune,  and  the 
absence  of  which  gives  the  violin  and  its  kindred  the  great  power  of  slight 
gradations  in  pitch,  as  well  as  making  them  the  hardest  of  all  to  play. 
The  epithet  *  twangling  Jack  ',  later  in  Hortensio 's  tale  of  Katharine's 
behaviour,  is  of  course  the  common  allusion  to  the  little  pieces  of  wood 
that  hold  the  quill  or  leather  plectra  in  the  early  keyboard  instruments, 
such  as  the  virginal  and  harpsichord.  To  call  a  lutenist  a  *  fiddler  ' 
or  to  allude  to  the  virginal  would  no  doubt  be  as  much  of  an  insult  in 


Shakespeare's  time  as  it  was,  down  to  the  end  of  last  century, 
to  call  any  musical  person  a  '  fiddler  '  ;  there  must  be  many  living 
who  remember  the  term  being  applied  to  musical  people  generally 
as  a  sneer. 

Coming  now  to  the  longest  of  the  musical  passages  in  the  play,  the 
lesson  in  the  gamut  in  which  Hortensio  declares  himself  as  Bianca's 
lover,  it  is  clear  that  the  music-lesson  is  a  parallel,  more  or  less  close,  to 
the  Latin  lesson  given  by  Lucentio,  and  as  that  is  pure  nonsense — that 
is  to  say,  as  the  Latin  words  have  no  sort  of  connexion  with  the  con 
versation  of  the  lovers — it  is  possible  to  assume  that  the  musical 
terms  are  equally  removed  from  the  phrases  used  by  Hortensio.  But 
I  think  that  the  music-lesson  has  a  little  more  method  than  the  Latin 
one,  or  at  least  there  are  in  it  more  suggestions  taken  from  the  musical 
terms  used.  As  I  fear  that  very  few  musicians  in  the  present  day  could 
honestly  say  with  Bianca,  that  they  are  *  past  the  gamut  long  ago  ' 
(at  least,  in  the  sense  of  having  learnt  it  in  their  youth),  perhaps  a 
short  explanation  of  its  nature  may  not  be  out  of  place,  since  it 
served  a  very  real  purpose  in  the  music  of  its  time,  and  without 
some  knowledge  of  what  that  purpose  was,  we  shall  be,  like  many 
of  the  older  editors  of  the  plays,  at  a  loss  to  explain  some  of  Horten 
sio  's  love-making. 

As  soon  as  the  art  of  music  was  freed  from  the  dominion  of  the  old 
modes  (usually  called  *  ecclesiastical '  for  no  reason  except  that  the 
plain-song  of  the  Church  preserved  them  in  written  music),  and  found 
it  possible  to  pass  from  one  key  to  another  nearly  related  to  it,  they  saw 
that  there  was  a  key  on  each  side,  as  it  were,  of  the  central  or  *  natural ' 
key  of  C,  to  which  modulation  could  readily  be  effected.  That  of  G, 
the  scale  of  which  was  called  the  hexachordum  durum ,  had  all  the  notes 
of  its  hexachord  inside  the  scale  of  C,  since  the  differential  note,  F,  on 
which  the  modulation  chiefly  depended,  lay  outside  the  hexachordum 
durum.  On  the  other  side  of  the  hexachordum  naturale  (the  first  six 
notes  of  the  scale  of  C),  there  lay  the  hexachordum  molle  (the  scale  of  F), 
so-called  because  its  characteristic  fourth  note  must  be  flattened  in  order 
to  conform  to  the  pattern  of  the  others,  in  which  the  first  semitone  must 
always  occur  between  the  third  note  and  the  fourth.  The  old  syllables, 
derived  from  the  initial  syllables  of  a  hymn  *  Ut  queant  laxis  ',  to 
St.  John  Baptist,  were  useful  as  showing  the  place  of  the  semitones, 
whatever  the  pitch.  So  the  names  ut,  re,  mi,  fa,  sol,  and  la  always  stood 
for  the  first  notes  of  the  major  scale,  with  a  semitone  always  between 
mi  and  fa.  In  order  that  the  starting-points  of  these  three  scales  should 


be  remembered,  a  table  was  constructed  in  which  the  scales  were  given 
with  their  *  sol-fa '  equivalents  : 











A  0 

la        mi 
sol      re 

flim  — 

F  *' 


fa        ut 

ui  — 


la       sol 



_     —     —     —     — 

B  II? 

t>fa      tjmi 


sol     re       ut 
fa      ut 

.b       la      mi 
D  —  sol     re  - 
C       fa      ut 
B       mi- 
A      re 

At  the  same  time  the  table  showed  the  great  stave  of  eleven  lines,  on 
which,  using  also  the  spaces  between  them,  all  the  notes  of  the  seven 
hexachords  were  included,  there  being  one  line  above  the  gamut,  called 
now  the  treble  F.  Here  we  have  the  usual  two  staves  of  pianoforte 
music,  with  the  line  for  middle  C  shown  as  dotted.  On  this  line  was 
placed  the  C  clef,  that  stumbling-block  to  the  readers  of  to-day.  The 
names  by  which  the  individual  notes  were  known  were  made  up  by 
reading  across  the  table.  Thus  the  highest  note  was  called  *  E  la  ',  the 
next '  D  la  sol ',  and  so  on.  As  the  gamut  was  always  taught  from  the 
bottom,  the  first  note,  from  which  the  table  took  its  name,  was  called 
*  Gamma  ut '  or  *  Gamut ',  because  the  Greek  letter  was  used  for  the 
note  that  had  been  added  below  the  limits  of  the  old  tetrachords  (called 
Tr/joo-Aa/ijQai/d/iei/oy).  As  the  second  hexachord  does  not  start  until  the 
note  C,  the  two  notes  between  it  and  the  lowest  have  only  one  name 
each,  *  A  re  '  and  *  B  mi '.  The  beginning  of  the  second  hexachord  is 
indicated  by  the  name  '  C  fa  ut  ',  and  the  remaining  two  notes  of  the 


first  hexachord  are  '  D  sol  re  '  and  '  E  la  mi '.  These  names  were  used, 
down  to  the  times  of  the  old  English  Church  composers,  for  the  keys 
in  which  their  anthems  and  services  were  composed.  What  we  should 
now  call  the  key  of  E  minor,  for  example,  was  known  as  that  of  *  E  la  mi ', 
and  afterwards  as  *  the  key  of  E  with  the  lesser  third '. 

As  I  have  already  said,  the  first  necessary  alteration  of  note  took 
place  at  the  upper  B,  since  it  served  not  only  as  the  third,  or  mi  of  the 
major  scale,  but  as  the  fourth,  or  fa  of  the  scale  beginning  on  F.  In 
this  capacity  it  had  to  be  flattened,  to  make  it  a  semitone  above  the  mi, 
the  note  A.  The  two  forms  of  the  note  B  were  expressed  by  two  forms 
of  the  written  letter,  one  by  the  round  b  of  the  cursive  alphabet,  the 
other  by  the  gothic  letter  b.  These  two  are  of  course  the  origin  of  the 
modern  signs  for  the  flat  (i>)  and  sharp  (#) 1  respectively. 

Bearing  in  mind  as  much  as  may  be  of  this  dull  explanation,  let 
us  consider  the  written  gamut  which  Bianca  reads  aloud.  The  first  line, 

Gamut  I  am,  the  ground  of  all  accord, 

describes  the  lowest  note  of  the  scale,  and  sets  forth  Hortensio's  con 
viction  that  he  is  an  eligible  suitor  for  Bianca.  In  the  line 

4  A  re,'  to  plead  Hortensio's  passion 

is  it  too  fanciful  to  suppose  that  the  name  of  the  note  suggests  the  French 
a  or  Italian  «,  and  the  form  of  the  phrase  *  to  '  plead,  as  though  he  would 
have  given  it  in  full,  '  a  rappresentare  Tamore  '  or  some  such  words  ? 
The  note  B  naturally  suggests  Bianca 's  name,  and  on  this  note  I  shall 
have  something  more  to  say  presently.  One  is  reminded  of  the  old 
joke  in  Punch  about  a  song  with  the  refrain  '  Be  mine  '  being  appro 
priately  set  to  music  in  the  key  of  B  minor.  So  little  knowledge  had  the 
printers  of  the  Quarto  and  the  Folios  that  in  them  the  name  of  the  note 
stands  as  *  Beeme '.  The  next  line  possibly  derives  its  form  of  phrase 
from  the  word  '  ut ',  although  the  relative  use  of  the  word  *  that  *  does 
not  of  course  represent  the  conjunction.  Leaving  for  later  consideration 
the  next  line,  it  may  be  pointed  out  that  the  key  called  'E  la  mi J  is 
elegiac  in  character,  and  might  very  well  have  such  words  as  4  have  pity  ' 
set  to  it.  The  preceding  line,  '  "  D  sol  re,"  one  clef,  two  notes  have  I/ 
is  the  one  puzzling  thing  in  the  verse,  for  there  is  no  possible  sense  in 
which  that  step  of  the  scale  can  be  said  to  have  two  notes.  The  appro- 

1  It  is  perhaps  hardly  necessary  to  add  that  the  sign  for  the  natural  (&)  is  another 
modification  of  the  same  letter,  introduced  later  than  the  other  two  signs.  The  sharp  and 
flat  were  anciently  used  to  restore  the  original  pitch  after  an  accidental,  as  we  now  use  the 


priateness  of  the  words  to  Hortensio's  disguise  is  obvious,  but  how  do 
they  fit  the  gamut  ?  The  only  note  of  which  they  can  be  true  is  the 
higher  B,  the  octave  above  *  B  mi  '.  For,  as  explained  above,  this  note 
has  to  take  on  two  forms,  B  flat  and  B  natural,  according  to  the  different 
hexachords  to  which  it  belongs.  Are  we  to  suppose  that  Shakespeare 
did  not  know  this,  or  that  he  made  Hortensio  ignorant  of  what  he  pro 
fessed  to  teach  ?  I  think  he  wanted  the  quip  about  the  ambiguity  of 
the  note  B  somewhere  in  his  verse,  yet  to  go  regularly  up  the  scale  for 
five  lines  more  till  he  got  to  the  upper  B  would  have  lengthened  out  the 
scene  unduly  ;  besides,  *  B  mi  '  was  already  appropriated  to  Bianca, 
so  that  he  just  transferred  the  ambiguous  character  of  that  note  to  one 
for  which  there  was  no  special  pun. 

It  will  be  noticed  that  in  the  table  given  above  the  place  of  the 
notes  on  the  musical  stave  is  taught  side  by  side  with  the  useful,  if  arbi 
trary,  syllables  which  contain  the  germ  of  that  well-known  adaptation 
of  the  gamut  by  Miss  Glover,  known  throughout  the  British  dominions 
as  the  *  Tonic  Sol-Fa  Notation  '.  The  principle  that  not  merely  the 
starting-points  of  the  hexachords,  but  any  and  every  note  of  the  scale, 
can  be  viewed  as  the  ut  or  do  (as  the  tonic,  or  keynote,  is  now  called) 
of  its  own  scale,  is  of  inestimable  value,  and  the  modern  develop 
ment  of  the  gamut,  the  *  modulator  '  which  hangs  in  every  elementary 
schoolroom  at  the  present  moment,  contains  many  important  truths,  of 
some  of  which  most  Tonic  Sol-Fa  teachers  seem  unaware.  It  is  a  sad 
pity  that  the  syllables  have  become  divorced  from  the  staff  notation  in 
too  many  cases,  so  that  proficiency  in  their  utterance  is  popularly 
supposed  to  be  *  reading  *  music  at  sight.  If  the  two  systems  had  always 
been  kept  together,  with  the  syllables  used  as  an  introduction  to  the 
staff,  as  they  are  in  the  gamut,  the  diffusion  of  real  musical  skill  through 
out  the  country  would  be  far  greater  than  it  is  now.  Those  who  find  in 
the  prevalence  of  the  *  new  *  notation  the  chief  obstacle  to  real  advance 
in  the  training  of  choirs  in  difficult  music,  will  be  inclined  to  say  with 
Bianca : 

I  like  it  not: 

Old  fashions  please  me  best;   I  am  not  so  nice, 
To  change  true  rules  for  odd  inventions. 



FROM  time  to  time  various  attempts  have  been  made  to  compile 
a  complete  bibliography  of  music  connected  with  Shakespeare's  plays 
and  poems.  The  most  elaborate,  if  not  the  most  correct,  was  the  List  of 
all  the  Songs  and  Passages  in  Shakspere  which  have  been  set  to  Music, 
issued  in  1884,  as  No.  3  of  Series  VIII  of  the  publications  of  the  New 
Shakspere  Society.  But  this  list  was  in  many  respects  incomplete 
and  inaccurate.  The  work,  indeed,  is  one  of  very  great  difficulty  and 
would  require  not  only  considerable  research  but  also  more  musical 
knowledge  than  was  possessed  by  the  authors  of  the  New  Shakspere 
Society's  list.  To  accomplish  it  properly  some  sort  of  classification  would 
be  absolutely  necessary.  In  the  first  rank  might  be  placed  Incidental 
Music  (vocal  and  instrumental)  intended,  like  the  Shakespearian  settings 
of  Arne,  to  accompany  stage  performances  of  the  various  plays  ;  another 
category  should  include  vocal  settings  of  words  by  Shakespeare,  not 
primarily  intended  for  stage  performance  ;  a  third  class  would  be 
devoted  to  instrumental  and  vocal  works  inspired  by,  or  intended  to 
illustrate  musically,  works  by  Shakespeare  ;  while  a  final  section  could 
be  devoted  to  operas  founded  on  subjects  derived  from  the  plays.  As 
a  contribution  to  the  last  of  these  categories  the  present  notes  have  been 
drawn  up.  They  have  no  claim  to  completeness  and  are  only  to  be 
looked  upon  as  hints  or  suggestions  for  future  workers.  At  the  outset 
very  great  difficulties  are  encountered,  for  of  all  branches  of  theatrical 
literature  that  of  operatic  librettos  has  been  most  neglected  by  biblio 
graphers.  Usually  printed  for  special  occasions  in  very  small  editions, 
the  librettos  of  operas  have  often  appeared  without  complying  with  the 
registration  formalities  of  the  Copyright  Acts,  and,  in  England  at  least, 
have  consequently  seldom  found  their  way  into  public  libraries.  Even 
when  they  have  done  so,  they  have  generally  been  entered  under  the 
names  of  the  authors,  and  who,  among  many,  could  say  off-hand  who 
are  the  authors  of  even  such  well-known  works  as  Beethoven's  Fidelio, 
Verdi's  Trovatore,  or  Humperdinck's  Hansel  und  Gretel  ?  When,  as  in 


the  case  of  the  great  mass  of  operas  on  Shakespearian  subjects,  we  have 
to  deal  with  a  number  of  works  which  have  only  enjoyed  an  ephemeral 
existence,  the  difficulty  is  multiplied  indefinitely,  and  we  are  forced  to 
have  recourse  to  the  standard  opera-dictionaries  of  Clement  and  Larousse 
and  Riemann,  where  the  works  are  entered  under  their  titles.  But 
here  fresh  difficulties  are  encountered,  for  it  is  often  impossible  to  tell 
from  their  titles  whether  the  operas  are  really  based  on  Shakespeare, 
and  even  whether  they  are  operas  at  all,  or  only  productions  of  Shake 
speare's  plays  interlarded  with  additional  music,  as  in  the  case  of  the 
many  so-called  operas  for  which  Sir  Henry  Bishop  was  responsible  in 
London  in  the  early  part  of  the  nineteenth  century.  Of  late  the  neglected 
subject  of  opera-librettos  seems  to  have  attracted  the  attention  of  biblio 
graphers.  The  Library  of  Congress  (Washington)  has  acquired  what 
is  probably  the  richest  collection  of  such  works,  and  Mr.  O.  G.  Sonneck, 
the  librarian  in  charge  of  the  musical  department,  has  issued  an  admi 
rably  exhaustive  catalogue  of  the  earlier  part  of  the  collection.  The 
British  Museum  has  also  turned  its  attention  to  librettos  and  has  ac 
quired  some  valuable  collections,  which  have  been  incorporated  in  the 
printed  general  Catalogue.  The  whole  of  this  has  been  recently  read 
through  and  the  librettos  re-catalogued  under  the  names  of  the  operas, 
with  a  view  to  the  publication  of  a  libretto-catalogue  somewhat  on  the 
lines  of  the  Library  of  Congress  Catalogue.  This  work  is  at  present 
still  in  manuscript,  but  it  has  been  made  use  of  in  drawing  up  the  follow 
ing  notes.  In  their  preparation  it  has  been  thought  best  to  adopt  an 
alphabetical  arrangement  under  the  names  of  the  different  plays  :  where 
a  play  is  omitted  it  is  to  be  understood  that  no  opera  on  the  subject  has 
been  discovered. 

Antony  and  Cleopatra. 

There  is  a  long  list  (under  *  Cleopatre  ')  in  the  Dictionnaire  Lyrique 
of  Clement  and  Larousse,  and  another  list  (under  *  Kleopatra  ')  in 
Riemann Js  Opern-Handbuch  of  operas  in  which  Cleopatra  is  the  heroine, 
but  it  is  doubtful  whether  any  of  these  can  be  said  to  be  based  on  Shake 
speare's  play.  Enna's  Cleopatra  (1894),  Masse 's  Nuit  de  Cleopatre 
(1885),  Massenet's  CUopdtre  (1914),  and  Collin  de  Blamont's  ballet 
CUopdtre  (1748),  have  no  connexion  with  the  play.  The  Antonius 
und  Kleopatra  of  J.  C.  Kaflka  (1779)  and  of  Count  E.  F.  von  Sayn- 
Wittgenstein  (1883),  and  R-  Kreutzer's  ballet  Les  Amours  d'Antoine  et 
de  CUopdtre  (1808)  seem  possibly,  from  their  titles,  to  be  founded  on 


As  You  Like  It. 

The  play  was  turned  into  an  opera  by  P.  A.  Rolli  for  Francesco 
Maria  Veracini  and  produced  as  Rosalinda  during  the  composer's  visit 
to  London  in  1744.  There  are  other  operas  with  the  same  name  : 
La  Rosalinda,  by  G.  M.  Capelli  (Venice,  1692)  and  by  M.  A.  Ziani 
(Venice,  1693),  but  these  have  no  connexion  with  Shakespeare's  comedy, 
nor  has  the  Rosalinda  of  J.  Lockman  and  J.  C.  Smith  (London,  1740). 
There  are  also  two  operas  called  Rosalinde  by  N.  A.  Strungk  (Leipzig, 
1695)  and  F.  van  Duyse  (Antwerp,  1864)  as  to  which  information  is 
wanting.  As  You  Like  It  was  played  in  London  in  1824,  arranged  as  an 
opera  by  Bishop. 

The  Comedy  of  Errors. 

A  musical  pasticcio  by  Bishop  was  concocted  on  the  play  and  pro 
duced  in  London  in  1819. 


Numerous  old  Italian  operas  on  Coriolanus,  generally  entitled 
Caio  Marzio  Coriolano,  are  recorded  in  the  dictionaries,  but  it  is  un 
certain  whether  any  of  them  are  founded  on  Shakespeare. 


The  librettos  of  the  earlier  Italian  works  on  Hamlet  were  generally 
by  Apostolo  Zeno  and  P.  Pariati  ;  the  French  adaptation  by  Ducis  was 
made  use  of  later.  Operas  by  the  following  composers  are  recorded 
(in  chronological  order)  :  C.  F.  Gasparini  (Rome,  1705 — played  in 
London  in  1712),  Domenico  Scarlatti  (Rome,  1715),  G.  Carcano  (Venice, 
1742),  Caruso  (Florence,  1790),  Foppa  (Padua,  1792),  Andreozzi 
(Genoa,  1793),  Count  von  Gallenberg — a  *  Pantomime  tragique  ' — 
(Paris,  1816),  Mercadante  (Milan,  1823),  Mareczek  (Briinn,  1840), 
Buzzola  (Venice,  1848),  Moroni  (Rome,  1860),  Faccio — book  by  Boito — 
(Genoa,  1865),  Ambroise  Thomas  (Paris,  1868),  A.  Stadtfeld  (Bonn, 
1881),  and  A.  Hignard  (Nantes,  1888).  Of  all  these,  only  Ambroise 
Thomas's  opera  survived  for  a  time.  To  judge  by  the  few  excerpts  that 
have  been  published,  Faccio 's  work  was  the  most  remarkable  of  the 
long  series  ;  it  had  the  advantage  of  an  admirable  libretto,  in  which 
Shakespeare's  tragedy  was  closely  followed. 


Julius  Caesar. 

There  are  innumerable  operas — mostly  of  the  eighteenth  century — 
on  Julius  Caesar  y  as  to  which  Riemann  and  Clement  and  Larousse  may 
be  consulted.  But  it  is  very  doubtful  whether  any  of  them  are  founded 
on  Shakespeare. 

King  Henry  IV. 

The  early  career  of  Henry  V  has  formed  the  subject  of  a  certain 
number  of  operas,  but  most  of  these  (e.  g.  Herold's  La  Gioventh  di 
Enrico  V  (Naples,  1817),  and  Pacini's  work  with  the  same  title  (Rome, 
1821))  have  nothing  to  do  with  Shakespeare.  An  exception  is  Merca- 
dante's  Gioventh  di  Enrico  V  (Milan,  1834),  the  libretto  of  which,  by 
F.  Romani,  is  founded  on  Shakespeare's  Henry  IV.  Further  informa 
tion  is  desirable  as  to  P.  J.  de  Voider 's  Lajeunesse  de  Henri  Cinq  (Ghent, 
c.  1825)  and  other  operas  on  the  same  subject  recorded  in  the  dictionaries. 
The  Falstaff  scenes  may  have  been  used  in  some  of  the  operas  of  that 
name,  but  they  are  here  entered  under  The  Merry  Wives  of  Windsor. 

King  Lear. 

The  earliest  opera  on  this  tragedy  seems  to  be  the  Cordelia  of 
C.  Kreutzer  (Donaueschingen,  1819) ;  the  same  title  is  borne  by  works 
by  Seme'ladis  (Versailles,  1854)  and  Gobati  (Bologna,  1881).  A  Lear 
by  A.  Reynaud  saw  the  light  at  Toulouse  in  1888.  The  Cordelia  of 
the  Russian  composer  N.  T.  Solowiew  (1885)  is  founded  on  Sardou's 
La  Haine  ;  the  subject  is  quite  different  from  Shakespeare's  tragedy. 
It  is  well  known  that  Verdi  at  one  time  thought  of  taking  Lear  as  the 
subject  of  an  opera,  but  unfortunately  the  idea  was  never  carried  out. 

King  Richard  HI. 

G.  Salvayre's  Richard  HI  (Petrograd,  1883)  is  founded  on  Shake 
speare's  play,  though  much  altered.  The  Riccardo  III  of  G.  B.  Meiners 
(Milan,  1859),  on  tne  other  hand,  has  no  connexion  with  the  English 
poet.  As  to  the  Richardus  Impius  Angliae  Rex  of  J.  Eberlin  (Salzburg, 
1750)  and  the  Riccardo  HI  of  L.  Canepa  (Milan,  1879),  information  is 



Much  incidental  music  has  been  written  for  Macbeth,  but  the 
subject  has  not  escaped  the  attention  of  librettists.  It  was  treated  as 
a  Ballo  tragico  by  F.  Clerico  (Milan,  1802),  and  again  as  a  Ballo 
mimico  by  C.  Pugni  (Milan,  1830) — a  very  curious  work,  in  the  sleep 
walking  scene  of  which  Lady  Macbeth  kills  her  own  son,  thinking  he  is 
Duncan ! 

The  earliest  opera  on  the  subject  seems  to  be  the  Macbeth  of 
H.  Chelard  (Paris,  1827),  played  in  London  in  1832,  the  libretto  of 
which  was  by  the  composer  of  the  Marseillaise,  Rouget  de  PIsle,  who 
has  given  Duncan  a  daughter  and  introduced  the  sleep-walking  scene 
before  the  discovery  of  the  King's  murder.  Taubert's  Macbeth  (Berlin, 
1857)  follows  the  tragedy  fairly  closely.  There  is  an  early  opera  on 
Macbeth  by  Verdi,  originally  produced  in  Florence  in  1847  and  revised 
and  partly  rewritten  for  Paris  in  1865.  In  spite  of  some  fine  passages 
there  is  little  in  the  work  to  foreshadow  the  composer's  great  achieve 
ments  in  Otello  and  Falstaff  :  the  opera  is  written  in  the  conventional 
Italian  idiom  of  the  day  and  it  has  never  survived.  The  most  recent 
musical  drama  on  Shakespeare's  tragedy  is  the  Macbeth  of  E.  Bloch, 
played  at  the  Paris  Opera  Comique  in  1910.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that 
in  1809  there  was  published  the  First  Act  of  a  libretto  on  Macbeth  by 
J.  von  Collin  :  sketches  by  Beethoven  for  an  overture  and  chorus  in  this 
were  printed  by  G.  Nottebohm  in  the  Musikalisches  Wochenblatt  for  1879. 

The  Merchant  of  Venice. 

The  only  opera  on  this  play  was  composed  by  C.  Pinsuti  and  pro 
duced  at  Milan  in  1874.  Clement  and  Larousse  record  a  Dutch  opera 
on  the  subject,  by  J.  A.  Just,  performed  at  Amsterdam  about  1787,  but 
this  work  is  the  Koopman  van  Smyrna,  first  produced  at  Bonn  in 

The  Merry  Wives  of  Windsor. 

An  obscure  violinist  named  Papavoine  seems  to  have  been  the  first 
to  use  this  play  as  the  foundation  of  an  opera.  His  work,  entitled  Le 
Vieux  Coquet,  was  produced  in  Paris  in  1761,  but  was  withdrawn 
after  one  performance.  There  are  German  operas  on  the  play  by 
P.  Ritter  (Mannheim,  1794)  and  Ditters  von  Dittersdorf  (Oels,  1796)  as 


to  which  little  seems  to  be  known.  Salieri's  Falstaff  t  osia  Le  ire 
Burle  (Dresden,  1799)  has  a  good  libretto,  printed  in  Italian  and 
German.  A  musical  version  of  the  play,  chiefly  by  Braham,  Horn,  and 
Parry,  was  produced  in  London  in  1823.  An  Italian  opera — Falstaff 
—by  Balfe  (London,  1838),  Otto  Nicolai's  Die  Lustigen  Weiber  von 
Windsor  (Berlin,  1849),  Adolphe  Adam's  Falstaff  (Paris,  1856),  and 
Verdi's  Falstaff  (Milan,  1893)  complete  the  list.  It  is  curious  that 
the  Merry  Wives  should  have  given  rise  to  two  operas  like  that  of 
Nicolai — which  has  enjoyed  longer  popularity  than  any  other  Shake 
spearian  opera — and  the  Falstaff  of  Verdi,  a  work  of  consummate  genius 
which  the  public  has  never  yet  appreciated  at  its  real  value. 

A  Midsummer  Night's  Dream. 

This  is  one  of  the  earliest  of  Shakespeare's  plays  which  was  laid 
hands  on  for  operatic  purposes.  It  was  turned  by  some  anonymous 
adaptor  into  a  (so-called)  opera,  with  admirable  music  by  Henry  Purcell, 
produced  in  London  in  1692.  The  adaptation  is  very  curious,  for 
Shakespeare's  dialogue  is  partly  retained,  while  the  musical  additions 
have  the  least  possible  relation  to  the  play,  with  the  result  that  not  one 
word  of  Shakespeare's  has  been  set  by  Purcell.  Other  operas  on  the 
play  are  The  Fairies ,  by  J.  C.  Smith  (London,  1755),  and  (probably) 
Manusardi's  Un  Sogno  di  Primavera  (Milan,  1842)  ;  Busby's  Fair 
Fugitives  (London,  1803),  which  is  given  in  some  dictionaries  as 
founded  on  Shakespeare,  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  play,  nor  have 
Ambroise  Thomas's  Songe  d'une  Nuit  d'fite  (Paris,  1850)  and  Offen 
bach's  Reve  d'une  Nuit  dy£ti  (Paris,  1855).  The  Zarzuela  El  Sueno 
de  una  Noche  de  Verano,  by  Gaztambide  (Madrid,  1852),  probably 
belongs  to  the  same  category  as  the  two  last-named  works.  A  musical 
version  of  Shakespeare's  play  was  produced  by  Bishop  in  London  in 
1816  and  the  Clowns'  Masque  forms  the  foundation  of  the  Pyramus 
and  Thisbe  of  Leveridge  (London,  1716)  and  of  Lampe  (London,  1745). 

Much  Ado  About  Nothing. 

There  are  four  operas  founded  on  this  play,  viz.  Beatrice  et  Benedict, 
by  Berlioz  (Baden-Baden,  1862) ;  Beaucoup  de  Bruit  pour  rien,  by  P.  Puget 
(Paris,  1899);  Much  Ado  About  Nothing,  by  Stanford  (London,  1900) 
and  Ero,  by  C.  Podesta  (Cremona,  1900). 



Rossini's  Otello  (Naples,  1816)  enjoyed  a  long  run  of  popularity, 
but  seems  now  to  be  defunct ;  a  Ballo  Tragico,  arranged  by  S.  Vigano 
(composer  not  stated),  was  produced  in  Milan  in  1818,  and  the  same  place 
saw  in  1887  the  first  performance  of  Verdi's  Otello,  the  composer's 
operatic  masterpiece.  A  *  Juguete  comico  lirico  '  by  M.  Nieto,  entitled 
Oteloy  Desdemona  (Madrid,  1883),  has  nothing  to  do  with  Shakespeare's 

Romeo  and  Juliet. 

This  play  has  formed  the  basis  of  a  very  large  number  of  operas 
and  ballets,  with  various  titles.  The  earliest  seems  to  be  a  Dramma 
per  musica  in  two  Acts,  published  at  Berlin  in  1773,  without  any  com 
poser's  name.  It  was  followed  in  quick  succession  by  works  on  the 
same  subject  by  G.  Benda  (Gotha,  1776),  J.  G.  Schwanenberg  (Leipzig, 
1776),  L.  Marescalchi  (Rome,  1789),  S.  von  Rumling  (Munich,  1790), 
Dalayrac  (Paris,  1792),  Steibelt  (Paris,  1793),  Zingarelli  (Milan,  1796), 
Porta  (Paris,  1806),  I.  Schuster  (Vienna,  1808),  P.  C.  Guglielmi  (London, 
1810),  Vaccai  (Milan,  1825),  Bellini  (Venice,  1830),  a  ballet  without 
composer's  name  (Milan,  1830),  F.  Gioja — a  ballet  (Milan,  1833), 
Marchetti  (Trieste,  1865),  Gounod  (Paris,  1867),  A.  Mercadal  (Mahon, 
1873),  Marquis  d'lvry  (Paris,  1878),  and  H.  R.  Shelley  (published  in 
New  York,  1901).  An  operatic  version  of  Berlioz's  Romeo  et  Juliette 
symphony  was  published  in  Paris  c.  1880. 

The  Taming  of  the  Shrew. 

A  musical  version,  chiefly  by  Beaham  and  T.  S.  Cooke,  saw  the 
light  in  London  in  1828,  but  the  only  real  opera  on  the  play  is  H.  Goetz's 
Der  Widerspdnstigen  Zdhmung  (Mannheim,  1874),  an  excellent  work 
which  seems  to  have  fallen  into  undeserved  neglect.  The  ballad  farce 
A  Cure  for  a  Scold  (London,  1735)  is  founded  on  Shakespeare's  play, 
but  considerably  altered  (by  James  Worsdale).  V.  Martin's  Capricciosa 
corretta  (Lisbon,  1797),  mentioned  in  some  of  the  dictionaries,  has  an 
entirely  different  plot. 

The  Tempest. 

There  is  more  difficulty  in  giving  a  correct  list  of  operas  on  this 
play  than  in  any  other  case,  owing  to  the  uncertainty  as  to  dates  and  to 



the  habit  which  musical  lexicographers  have  of  assuming  that  every 
work  called  La  Tempesta,  Der  Geisterinsel,  Der  Sturm,  &c.,  must  be 
based  on  Shakespeare.  The  following  list  is  therefore  entirely  tentative 
and  subject  to  revision.  The  earliest  opera  on  the  play  is  the  version 
of  Thomas  Shad  well,  with  music  by  Matthew  Locke,  played  in  London 
in  1673.  This  seems  to  have  been  revised  in  1676  and  again  in  1690  or 
1695  (the  date  has  never  been  definitely  ascertained)  with  the  well- 
known  and  beautiful  music  of  Henry  Purcell.  Other  operas  recorded 
as  being  on  the  same  subject  are  as  follows  :  J.  C.  Smith  (London, 
1756)  ;  Aspelmayr  (Vienna,  1782)  ;  J.  H.  Rolle  (Berlin,  1784)  ;  Fabrizi 
(Rome,  1788)  ;  Winter  (Munich,  1793)  ;  Fleischmann  (Ratisbon, 
1796)  ;  Reichardt  (Berlin,  1798)  ;  Wenzel  Miiller  (Vienna,  1798)  ; 
Zumsteeg  (Stuttgart,  1798)  ;  P.  Ritter  (Aurich,  1799)  ;  Caruso  (Naples, 
1799)  ;  J.  H.  Hensel  (Hirschberg,  1799)  ;  P.  Wranitzky  (c.  1800)  ; 
A.  J.  Emmert  (Salzburg,  1806)  ;  E.  Raymond  (c.  1840)  ;  Rung  (Copen 
hagen,  1847);  Halevy  (London,  1850)  ;  Napravnik  (Prague,  c.  1860); 
Kaschperov  (Petrograd,  1867)  ;  Urich  (probably  not  on  Shakespeare, 
Brussels,  1879)  J  Chapi  (a  zarzuela,  almost  certainly  not  on  Shakespeare, 
Madrid,  1883)  >  E.  Frank  (Hanover,  1887)  ;  Urspruch  (Frankfurt, 
1888)  ;  Ambroise  Thomas  (a  ballet,  Paris,  1889)  ;  and  Z.  Fibich  (Prague, 

Timon  of  Athens. 

The  Timone  Misantropo  of  the  Emperor  Leopold  I  (Vienna,  1696) 
was  probably  founded  on  Shakespeare's  play. 

Twelfth  Night. 

A  musical  version  was  produced  by  Bishop  in  London  in  1820, 
but  the  only  genuine  opera  from  the  play  seems  to  be  the  Cesario  of 
W.  Taubert  (Berlin,  1874). 

The  Two  Gentlemen  of  Verona. 
Bishop  produced  a  musical  version,  played  in  London  in  1821. 

The  Winter's  Tale. 

This  play  forms  the  basis  of  the  Hertnione  of  Max  Bruch  (Berlin, 


Owing  to  the  incomplete  character  of  the  above  lists,  it  is  not 
possible,  without  further  research,  to  give  definite  statistics  as  to  the 
operas  that  have  been  derived  from  Shakespeare's  plays.  But  it  is 
clearly  evident  that  The  Tempest  and  Romeo  and  Juliet  have  proved  the 
most  tempting  subjects  to  librettists,  followed  closely  by  Hamlet  and 
longo  intervallo  by  The  Merry  Wives  of  Windsor.  As  to  the  nationality 
of  the  composers,  probably  we  shall  not  be  far  wrong  in  giving  them  as 
about  thirty-three  per  cent.  Italian,  thirty  per  cent.  German,  nine 
teen  per  cent.  French,  eleven  per  cent.  English,  and  the  remainder  of 
other  nationalities. 


G  2 



AN  artist  may  seem  out  of  place  in  this  procession  of  the  initiated 
and  his  rustic  pipe  unworthy  of  its  subject.  *  Tristis  at  ille,  tamen 
cantabunt  Arcades'  Shakespeare  is  our  common  heritage.  He  exists 
for  all,  not  only  for  the  scholar  and  the  critic,  and  however  inadequate 
its  expression,  our  gratitude  for  all  that  we  owe  to  this  surpassing  genius 
is  not  less  fervent  and  sincere  than  theirs.  What  that  feeling  is  I  will 
endeavour  to  define. 

It  has  been  suggested  that  this  obligation  may  have  some  special 
bearing  in  the  case  of  artists,  that  is,  as  I  take  it,  that  they  may  have 
found  in  Shakespeare  direct  technical  motives  in  their  several  arts. 
Industrious  students  have  collected  references  to  the  arts  in  his  works, 
and  have  even  sought  to  draw  up  a  sort  of  aesthetic  of  Shakespeare. 

To  me  this  seems  false  criticism,  and  the  wrong  point  of  view  from 
which  to  approach  him.  Literature  and  the  arts  have  their  own  limits 
and  conditions,  and  they  are  by  no  means  interchangeable,  and  when 
Shakespeare  turned  to  the  arts,  he  used  them  as  he  used  all  nature,  for 
the  setting  and  environment  of  his  humanity,  to  give  the  atmosphere 
he  wanted,  and  without  any  ulterior  intention.  He  drew  on  what  he 
saw  or  had  heard,  without  formulating  to  himself  any  theory  of  the 
arts,  without  any  idea  of  providing  in  his  word-paintings  matter  for 
direct  translation  into  terms  of  graphic  or  plastic  art.  That  his  plays 
have  provided  inexhaustible  subjects  for  illustration  does  not  affect  the 
point  that  Shakespeare's  attitude  to  the  arts  was  objective,  and  that  when 
he  refers  to  them  he  does  so,  not  from  the  technical  standpoint  of  an 
artist,  but  from  that  of  a  poet  and  a  student  and  observer  of  universal 
nature.  There  is  the  famous  word-picture  in  the  Rape  of  Lucrece, 
where  the  poet  gives  a  panorama  of  the  siege  of  Troy — adding  scene  to 
scene  and  detail  to  detail  with  a  profusion  which  would  be  simply  im 
possible  in  an  actual  picture.  The  poet  no  doubt  had  some  picture 
before  him,  and  let  his  fancy  play  on  it  in  order  to  convey  to  his  reader 
a  cumulative  impression  of  all  the  turmoil  and  emotions  of  the  siege 


of  Troy,  but  it  would  be  the  first  business  of  a  painter  to  eliminate  the 
greater  part  of  the  detail  which  came  within  the  scope  of  the  poet's 
imagination.  One  might  as  well  attempt  to  design  a  house  from 
Bacon's  Essay,  as  attempt  to  convey  in  any  one  picture  the  impressions 
given  by  Shakespeare's  verse.  Poets  do  not  exist  to  write  specifications 
for  architects  and  painters. 

Yet  this  in  no  way  affects  our  debt  of  gratitude  to  Shakespeare. 
The  common  basis  of  all  imaginative  art  is  our  humanity,  our  likes 
and  dislikes,  our  hopes  and  fears,  our  ideals  and  our  scheme  of  values  ; 
and  the  man  who  most  of  all  extends  the  range  of  our  outlook,  quickens 
our  imagination  and  teaches  us  to  see  beauty  everywhere,  and  to  discern 
the  vital  interests  of  life,  is  the  man  to  whom  we  shall  turn  again  and 
again,  with  ever-increasing  gratitude.  In  Shakespeare,  more  than  in 
any  poet  or  playwright  that  has  ever  lived,  we  find  this  teacher.  The 
wise  old  Latin  prided  himself  on  his  interest  in  all  humanity.  Shake 
speare  had  that  interest  in  a  transcendent  degree,  because  he  did  not 
limit  his  interest  to  men  and  cities,  but  included  in  his  outlook  the  whole 
range  of  nature  with  man  as  part  of  it.  So  it  is,  that  he  has  provided  an 
immense  spiritual  background  for  all  imaginative  artists.  He  has  done 
the  one  supreme  thing.  He  has  given  us  not  only  visions  but  the  power 
of  seeing,  and  he  has  given  us  this  power  unreservedly  and  with  the 
inexhaustible  bounty  of  some  great  natural  force.  Other  writers  of 
genius  have  their  own  special  conditions.  The  splendid  verse  of 
Milton,  Swift's  clean-cut  prose,  Keat's  lyrics,  require  their  own  mood, 
their  own  particular  temperament  for  their  full  appreciation.  It  is  not 
so  with  Shakespeare.  He  appeals  to  us  anywhere  and  under  all  con 
ditions  with  the  inexhaustible  richness  of  his  genius,  with  a  certain 
universality  that  passes  beyond  the  limits  of  time  and  local  circumstance. 

Literature  alone  survives  in  strenuous  times,  and  not  only  survives 
but  seems  to  burn  with  brighter  and  more  ardent  fires.  Shakespeare's 
age  was  the  age  par  excellence  of  great  adventure,  and  then,  as  now, 
Englishmen  were  fighting  for  their  lives  and  liberties,  for  their  ideals 
and  for  all  that  makes  life  worth  living  for  themselves  and  their  posterity, 
and  that  age  remains  the  period  of  the  unrivalled  flowering  of  English 
literature  with  no  real  counterpart  in  the  arts  of  the  time.  The  writer 
was  ahead  of  the  artist.  He  had  grasped  the  spirit  of  the  far-away 
Renaissance,  its  large  humanity,  its  spacious  outlook,  when  our  sculptors 
and  our  painters  had  not  yet  recovered  their  heritage,  and  our  builders  still 
thought  in  terms  of  Gothic,  however  much  they  might  try  to  catch  the 
fashion  with  their  travesties  of  the  orders .  The  man  of  ideas ,  the  man  who 


had  to  realize  his  ideas  clearly  in  order  to  make  them  articulate,  was 
generations  ahead  of  the  artist  who  plodded  humbly  in  his  wake,  a  figure 
not  without  pathetic  interest  in  its  gropings  after  ideals  ill-understood. 
John  Shute  might  say  of  his  treatise  of  the  orders,  *  That  with  it  as  with 
a  klew  or  thread,  or  plaine  pathway  a  man  may  most  easily  pearse  and 
lightly  pasover  the  most  darke  and  unknown  corners  of  the  whole 
process  '  of  Architecture.  The  thread  snapped  in  the  hand  of  the  user. 
Elizabethan  architecture  and  Elizabethan  art  generally  stand  on  a  very 
different  plane  from  that  of  Elizabethan  literature.  It  is  dear  to  us  for 
its  associations,  not  for  its  intrinsic  value.  We  like  to  think  of  the  low 
browed,  half-timbered  hostelries  in  which  Falstaff  took  his  pleasures, 
of  Justice  Shallow's  trim  garden  and  orchard  *  where  in  an  arbour  we 
will  eat  a  last  year's  pippin  of  my  own  graffing  ',  of  rare  and  curious 
jewellery  because  Elizabeth  and  her  ladies  wear  it,  of  the  quaint  em 
broidery  of  their  gowns,  of  all  that  kindly,  homely  art  that  we  associate 
with  the  England  of  Elizabeth. 

But  if  we  turn  on  to  it  the  cold  dry  light  of  historical  criticism  we 
have  to  admit  that  it  is  not  first-rate,  not  very  important  in  the  history 
of  art,  a  very  humble  companion  of  our  sixteenth-century  literature.  We 
may  love  it  for  what  it  means  to  us,  but  we  should  be  under  no  illusion 
as  to  its  relative  position  in  the  history  of  art.  In  other  ages  the  painter, 
the  sculptor,  and  the  architect,  have  as  much  to  say  to  us  as  the  writer. 
Michael  Angelo  dominates  Italy  of  the  sixteenth  century,  Wren  speaks 
to  us  as  clearly  as  Dryden,  Turner's  vision  of  nature  impresses  us  more 
than  the  poetry  of  Wordsworth,  but  the  England  of  Elizabeth  will 
always  be  summed  up  for  us  in  the  plays  and  poetry  of  Shakespeare  ; 
they  are  the  real  setting  and  background  of  that  splendid  age. 

One  would  have  thought  that  there  could  be  no  misconception 
as  to  a  figure  so  typically  English.  The  Germans  have  claimed  him  for 
their  own,  yet  it  is  impossible  to  conceive  anything  more  remote  from 
Shakespeare's  serene  and  happy  genius  than  the  modern  German 
attitude  to  life,  to  nature,  and  to  art,  than  the  habit  of  mind  that  finds  its 
pleasure  in  the  dissonances  of  Strauss,  that  conceives  of  the  masterpieces 
of  Greek  Tragedy  in  the  terms  of  a  blatant  showman,  that  prefers  the 
horrible  and  morbid  to  the  beauty  of  the  cloud  in  the  sky,  the  wind  in 
the  reeds,  beauty  of  movement,  form,  and  colour.  We  turn  to  Shake 
speare  and  find  the  clearest  and  cleanest  mind,  the  sanest  thinker  that 
has  ever  written  in  ours  or  any  other  language.  His  splendid  vision  saw 
beauty  everywhere  ;  in  the  sky,  in  the  sea,  in  the  city,  in  the  solitary 
place — everything  yielded  its  measure  of  beauty  to  his  magic  touch,  and 


beyond  and  above  all  price  is  the  large  humanity  of  this  extraordinary 
nature,  so  rich  in  sympathy,  so  intense  in  its  sensitiveness  to  every  sort 
of  vital  impression. 

He  has  fixed  for  us  the  true  type  of  Englishman.  I  do  not  mean 
any  one  special  character,  but  rather  a  figure  as  it  were  that  slowly  enters 
into  our  consciousness,  that  disengages  itself  from  the  complexity  of  his 
creations  as  the  standard  and  ideal  of  all  Englishmen.  Our  race  has  its 
manifold  weaknesses,  but  it  has  never  yet  wholly  failed  in  its  passionate 
love  of  freedom  and  justice,  its  hatred  of  oppression  and  sympathy  with 
the  weak  and  lowly,  in  dogged  courage,  in  keen  and  ever-present  humour, 
and  not  least  of  all  in  that  rare  capacity  for  ideals,  little  suspected  by 
those  who  do  not  know  us,  yet  so  deep-seated  and  inveterate  that  it 
realizes  itself  not  in  speech  but  in  action.  This  is  the  high  ideal  of 
character  that  is  recognized  by  our  race  throughout  the  world,  and  it 
has  been  set  for  us  for  all  time  by  the  unique  and  incomparable  genius 
of  Shakespeare. 


February,  1916. 



WHAT  are  the  points  of  contact  to  be  noticed  between  the  art  of 
Shakespeare  as  poet  and  dramatist  and  the  graphic  and  plastic  arts  as 
they  were  known  and  practised  in  his  time  :  in  other  words,  where  and 
to  what  extent  do  we  find  him  showing  familiarity  with  works  of  painting 
or  sculpture  or  deriving  suggestions  from  them  ?  In  the  great  kingdom 
of  Shakespeare  study  the  province  to  which  these  questions  point  is 
a  very  small  one,  but  has  perhaps  not  yet  been  quite  thoroughly  explored. 
The  only  contribution  I  feel  qualified  to  make  to  the  present  Memorial 
Volume — and  a  very  humble  contribution  it  will  be — is  an  examination 
of  a  particular  nook  or  corner  of  that  province  which  happens  long  to 
have  interested  me. 

I  do  not  intend  to  discuss  the  character  or  conversation  of  the  pro 
fessional  painter  who  plays  a  part  in  Timon  of  Athens ;  neither  shall 
I  dwell  on  the  amatory  pictures  from  Ovid  with  which  the  nobleman  in 
The  Taming  of  the  Shrew  (in  what  is  supposed,  be  it  remembered,  to  be 
the  non- Shakespearian  part  of  it)  directs  his  servants  to  tickle  the 
clownish  senses  of  Christopher  Sly.  Nor  shall  I  revive  the  old  debate 
whether  the  two  pictures  between  which  Hamlet  bids  his  mother  make 
comparison  in  the  closet  scene  were  meant  to  be  real  pictures  or  merely 
pictures  of  the  mind,  and  whether,  in  the  former  case,  Shakespeare 
thought  of  them  as  full-sized  portraits  or  as  miniatures — as  things  that 
might  have  been  done,  let  us  say,  to  instance  two  among  his  contem 
poraries,  by  Mark  Garrard  or  Nicolas  Hilliard  respectively.  I  will  not 

1  The  chief  authorities  on  the  works  of  art  referred  to  are :  A.  Jubinal,  Les  Anctennes 
Tapisseries  histories ^  Paris,  1838-9;  Paul  Schumann,  Der  Trojanisc  he  anzostsche 
Handzeichnungen  zu  Teppichen,  u.s.w.,  Dresden,  1898;  Jean  Guiffrey,  Histoire  de  la 
tapisserie  depuis  le  moyen  age,  1886 ;  id.  '  La  Guerre  de  Troie  ',  &c.,  in  Revue  de  I'Ari, 
torn,  v  (1899)  I  an<*  the  Catalogue  of  the  Rheims  Museum. 


even  let  myself — though  I  should  like  to — linger  on  the  question  what 
kind  of  a  picture,  sacred  or  profane,  an  Annunciation  to  the  Shepherds 
or  a  descent  of  Mercury  on  a  mission  from  Jove  (for  a  picture  of  some 
kind  I  am  sure  it  was),  suggested  the  enraptured  lines  in  which  Romeo 
cries  to  Juliet  that  she  is 

As  glorious  to  this  night,  being  o'er  my  head, 
As  is  a  winged  messenger  of  heaven 
Unto  the  white-upturned  wond'ring  eyes 
Of  mortals,  that  fall  back  to  gaze  on  him 
When  he  bestrides  the  lazy-pacing  clouds, 
And  sails  upon  the  bosom  of  the  air. 

Personally  I  can  never  help  associating  those  lines  with  the  shepherd 
who  throws  back  his  head  to  gaze  up  at  the  child  angel  riding  on  the 
cloud  in  that  wonderful  purple-blue  mountain  background  of  Titian 's 
Virgin  and  Child  with  Saint  Catherine  in  the  National  Gallery — 
a  picture  which  Shakespeare  is  quite  unlikely  to  have  seen.  Again,  with 
reference  to  the  famous  speech  of  Jaques  in  As  You  Like  It  about  the 
seven  ages  of  man,  seeing  that  the  subject  was  a  stock  one  alike  in 
morality  play  and  masque,  in  paintings  and  decorations  of  all  kinds,  in 
the  head-pieces  of  illuminated  and  printed  calendars  and  in  the  woodcuts 
of  cheap  popular  broadsides,  I  will  not  ask  from  which  among  all  the 
many  and  various  current  treatments  of  it,  scenic  or  graphic,  Shake 
speare  may  have  taken  his  cue  :  I  will  only  allow  myself  to  note  in 
passing  (I  know  not  whether  it  has  been  noted  before)  a  curious  identity 
between  the  phrase  of  Jaques  concerning  the  type  of  the  fourth  age,  the 

Jealous  in  honour,  sudden  and  quick  in  quarrel, 
Seeking  the  bubble  reputation 
Even  in  the  cannon's  mouth, 

and  that  used  by  the  Italian  painter-critic  Carlo  Ridolfi  when  he  tells 
of  a  similar  figure  in  a  painting,  now  lost,  of  the  same  subject  of  the 
Ages  of  Man  (or  Symbol  of  Human  Life)  by  Giorgione :  *  Nel  mezzo 
eravi  un  uomo  di  robusto  aspetto  tutto  armato  .  .  .  pronto  di  vendicare 
ogni  piccola  offesa  e  preparato  negli  arringhi  di  Marte  a  versare  il  sangue 
per  lo  desio  della  gloria.* 

The  sole  and  special  passage  of  Shakespeare  on  which  for  the 
present  purpose  I  want  the  reader  to  fix  his  attention  is  the  description 
in  his  early  poem,  The  Rape  of  Lucrece,  of  the  painting  of  the  Sack  of 
Troy  which  occupies  the  eyes  and  thoughts  of  the  dishonoured  matron 
while  she  waits  till  her  husband  Collatine  shall  come  from  the  camp  at 


her  summons.  It  is  far  the  longest  account  of  a  work  of  art  in  any 
part  of  Shakespeare's  writings,  filling  a  little  over  two  hundred  lines. 
For  my  purpose  the  first  hundred  or  so  must  of  necessity  be  quoted 
in  full : 

At  last  she  calls  to  mind  where  hangs  a  piece 

Of  skilful  painting-,  made  for  Priam's  Troy  ; 

Before  the  which  is  drawn  the  power  of  Greece, 

For  Helen's  rape  the  city  to  destroy, 

Threatening  cloud-kissing  Ilion  with  annoy  ; 
Which  the  conceited  painter  drew  so  proud, 
As  heaven,  it  seem'd,  to  kiss  the  turrets  bow'd. 

A  thousand  lamentable  objects  there, 
In  scorn  of  nature,  art  gave  lifeless  life ; 
Many  a  dry  drop  seem'd  a  weeping  tear, 
Shed  for  the  slaughter'd  husband  by  the  wife: 
The  red  blood  reek'd,  to  show  the  painter's  strife ; 

And  dying  eyes  gleam 'd  forth  their  ashy  lights, 

Like  dying  coals  burnt  out  in  tedious  nights. 

There  might  you  see  the  labouring  pioneer 
Begrimed  with  sweat,  and  smeared  all  with  dust ; 
And  from  the  towers  of  Troy  there  would  appear 
The  very  eyes  of  men  through  loop-holes  thrust, 
Gazing  upon  the  Greeks  with  little  lust : 

Such  sweet  observance  in  this  work  was  had, 
That  one  might  see  those  far-off  eyes  look  sad. 

In  great  commanders  grace  and  majesty 

You  might  behold,  triumphing  in  their  faces; 

In  youth  quick  bearing  and  dexterity ; 

And  here  and  there  the  painter  interlaces 

Pale  cowards,  marching  on  with  trembling  paces; 
Which  heartless  peasants  did  so  well  resemble, 
That  one  would  swear  he  saw  them  quake  and  tremble. 

In  Ajax  and  Ulysses,  O!  what  art 
Of  physiognomy  might  one  behold ; 
The  face  of  either  cipher'd  cither's  heart ; 
Their  face  their  manners  most  expressly  told: 
In  Ajax'  eyes  blunt  rage  and  rigour  roll'd; 

But  the  mild  glance  that  sly  Ulysses  lent 

Show'd  deep  regard  and  smiling  government. 

There  pleading  might  you  see  grave  Nestor  stand, 

As  'twere  encouraging  the  Greeks  to  fight ; 

Making  such  sober  action  with  his  hand, 

That  it  beguil'd  attention,  charm'd  the  sight. 

In  speech,  it  seem'd,  his  beard,  all  silver  white, 
Wagg'd  up  and  down,  and  from  his  lips  did  fly 
Thin  winding  breath,  which  purl'd  up  to  the  sky. 


About  him  were  a  press  of  gaping  faces, 

Which  seem'd  to  swallow  up  his  sound  advice  ; 

All  jointly  listening,  but  with  several  graces, 

As  if  some  mermaid  did  their  ears  entice, 

Some  high,  some  low,  the  painter  was  so  nice; 
The  scalps  of  many,  almost  hid  behind, 
To  jump  up  higher  seem'd,  to  mock  the  mind. 

Here  one  man's  hand  lean'd  on  another's  head, 

His  nose  being  shadow'd  by  his  neighbour's  ear; 

Here  one  being  throng'd  bears  back,  all  boll'n  and  red ; 

Another  smother'd,  seems  to  pelt  and  swear; 

And  in  their  rage  such  signs  of  rage  they  bear, 
As,  but  for  loss  of  Nestor's  golden  words, 
It  seem'd  they  would  debate  with  angry  swords. 

For  much  imaginary  work  was  there; 
Conceit  deceitful,  so  compact,  so  kind, 
That  for  Achilles'  image  stood  his  spear, 
Grip'd  in  an  armed  hand ;   himself  behind, 
Was  left  unseen,  save  to  the  eye  of  mind  : 

A  hand,  a  foot,  a  face,  a  leg,  a  head, 

Stood  for  the  whole  to  be  imagined. 

And  from  the  walls  of  strong-besieged  Troy 
When  their  brave  hope,  bold  Hector,  march'd  to  field, 
Stood  many  Trojan  mothers,  sharing  joy 
To  see  their  youthful  sons  bright  weapons  wield; 
And  to  their  hope  they  such  odd  action  yield, 
That  through  their  light  joy  seemed  to  appear, 
Like  bright  things  stain'd,  a  kind  of  heavy  fear. 

And  from  the  strand  of  Dardan,  where  they  fought, 

To  Simois'  reedy  banks  the  red  blood  ran, 

Whose  waves  to  imitate  the  battle  sought 

With  swelling  ridges;   and  their  ranks  began 

To  break  upon  the  galled  shore,  and  than 
Retire  again,  till,  meeting  greater  ranks, 
They  join  and  shoot  their  foam  at  Simois'  banks. 

To  this  well-painted  piece  is  Lucrece  come, 

To  find  a  face  where  all  distress  is  stell'd. 

Many  she  sees  where  cares  have  carved  some, 

But  none  where  all  distress  and  dolour  dwell'd, 

Till  she  despairing  Hecuba  beheld, 

Staring  on  Priam's  wounds  with  her  old  eyes, 
Which  bleeding  under  Pyrrhus'  proud  foot  lies. 

When  a  poet  describes  a  work  of  the  manual  arts  at  length,  it  is 
often  hard  to  be  sure  whether  he  is  working  from  imagination  or  from 
something  he  has  really  seen  and  noted  with  his  eyes,  or  partly  from  one 
and  partly  from  the  other.  But  there  are  cases,  and  this  is  one,  where 
the  particularity  of  the  description  and  the  insistence  on  technical 


details  make  it  certain  that  actual  and  interested  observation  has  furnished 
the  original  material,  however  much  imagination  may  have  added  to  or 
vivified  it.  Of  what  kind,  then,  we  have  to  ask  ourselves,  will  the 
painting  of  the  Siege  of  Troy  have  been  which  had  thus  caught  and  fixed 
Shakespeare's  attention  in  the  early  years  of  his  career  as  actor  and  poet 
in  London  ?  Among  the  pictures  on  panel  or  canvas  either  executed 
in  England  by  immigrants  from  Germany  or  the  Low  Countries  or 
imported  from  abroad  up  to  this  date  (1593),  the  vast  majority,  according 
to  what  has  always  been  the  chief  English  national  demand,  were  por 
traits.  Subjects  of  poetry  or  mythology  were  not  wanting  ;  but  it  is 
difficult  to  conceive  that  there  can  have  existed  any  such  crowded  and 
complicated  history  or  battle  piece,  figuring  many  successive  scenes 
within  the  four  corners  of  a  single  frame,  as  would  answer  to  the  descrip 
tion  above  quoted.  On  the  other  hand,  in  the  spacious  figured  tapes 
tries  that  had  been  coming  over  since  the  later  years  of  the  fifteenth 
century  from  the  looms  of  Flanders  and  northern  France  such  composi 
tions  were  the  rule.  The  thousand  objects  to  which  art,  in  the  painting 
described  by  the  poet,  *  gave  lifeless  life  ',  their  number  and  minuteness, 
the  visible  tears  and  blood,  the  gleam  of  dying  eyes,  the  expressions  in 
the  eyes  of  the  men  looking  out  from  the  loopholes  of  the  tower,  the 
multitudinousness  of  the  figures,  the  diversity  and  vividness  of  their 
gestures  and  expressions,  and  especially  the  manner,  so  precisely 
described,  of  their  crowding  and  packing  above  and  behind  one  another 
to  the  top  of  the  composition — all  these  things,  even  when  we  have  made 
full  allowance  for  the  dramatizing  and  intensifying  effects  introduced  by 
the  play  of  the  poet's  imagination,  seem  to  point  unmistakably  to  a  work 
on  the  scale  of  a  great  tapestry-hanging,  not  of  an  ordinary  framed  picture 
on  panel  or  canvas. 

But  would  Shakespeare  have  called  a  tapestry  a  '  painting '  ?  We 
have  no  clear  instance  of  his  doing  so  :  but  he  certainly  would  have  had 
no  scruple  in  giving  that  name  to  the  imitation  tapestries  or  *  painted 
cloths  '  which  in  his  day  and  earlier  were  so  much  in  use  as  substitutes 
for  or  supplements  to  the  costly  products  of  the  looms  of  Arras  or 
Brussels.  We  have  a  difficulty  in  realizing  all  the  part  played  by  woven 
or  painted  hangings  in  those  days,  both  in  the  fixed  decoration  of  halls 
and  chambers  and  for  show  on  special  occasions  and  representations. 
Of  the  cheaper,  the  painted  variety,  owing  to  their  fragility  and  the 
tendency  of  the  distemper  colours  to  scale  from  the  surface,  few  speci 
mens  remain  in  existence  :  the  most  important  are  four  sets  in  illustration 
of  mystery  plays  preserved  until  lately  in  the  Museum  at  Rheims.  But 


Shakespeare,  even  taken  by  himself,  has  sufficient  references  to  painted 
cloths  to  prove  their  general  and  familiar  use  in  his  day.  Remember 
how  Costard,  in  Love's  Labour  ys  Lost,  tells  Sir  Nathaniel,  when  he  has 
broken  down  in  the  part  of  Alexander  in  the  masque,  that  for  a  punish 
ment  he  shall  be  scraped  out  of  the  painted  cloth  of  the  Nine  Worthies 
and  Ajax  put  in  his  stead  ;  and  remember  FalstafFs  ragged  regiment, 
'  as  ragged  as  Lazarus  in  the  painted  cloth,  where  the  glutton's  dog 
licked  his  sores '. 

But  before  assuming  that  the  painting,  '  made  for  Priam's  Troy ', 
upon  which  Lucrece  is  represented  poring  in  her  despair,  was  such 
a  painted  hanging  on  the  scale  and  in  the  manner  of  tapestry,  let  us  see 
what  kind  of  place  the  Siege  of  Troy  took  among  the  subjects  commonly 
represented  in  the  true  works  of  that  craft.  In  point  of  fact  it  is  one  of 
the  subjects  for  which  tapestry  designers  and  weavers,  doubtless  follow 
ing  the  taste  of  the  great  princes  and  nobles  for  whom  they  worked,  had 
a  special  predilection.  Next  to  series  of  Bible  subjects,  among  fifteenth- 
century  products  of  the  loom,  we  have  remains  or  records  of  series  of 
Troy  subjects  in  greater  number  than  of  any  other.  Among  the  com 
paratively  recent  acquisitions  of  the  Louyre  is  a  set  of  eight  highly 
finished  drawings  on  a  small  scale  for  just  such  a  series  :  examples  of  the 
'  petits  patrons  ',  as  they  were  called,  which  artists  of  talent  and  repute 
were  called  on  to  supply  and  from  which  were  afterwards  prepared  the 
full-sized  cartoons  actually  used  by  the  weavers  at  the  loom.  They  date 
from  1480  or  a  little  later ;  and  among  actual  Troy  tapestries  of  about 
the  same  date  which  are  still  preserved  in  fragments  or  entire,  several 
correspond  with  these  very  designs  and  are  founded  on  them. 

One  such,  belonging  to  a  series  which  formerly  adorned  the  Chateau 
Bayard  in  Dauphine,  is  now  in  the  Victoria  and  Albert  Museum  :  it 
represents  the  arrival  of  Penthesilea  to  the  succour  of  Troy  after  the 
death  of  Hector,  her  victories,  and  her  final  overthrow  at  the  hand  of 
Pyrrhus.  Another  from  the  same  or  an  exactly  similar  series,  in  the 
cathedral  of  Zamora  in  Spain,  shows  a  scene  of  the  Iliupersis  or  final 
destruction  of  the  city.  Some  of  the  descriptive  French  verses  found 
pinned  in  manuscript  to  the  backs  of  the  Louvre  drawings  are  actually 
woven  large  along  the  upper  margin  of  this  picture.  (Both  in  tapestries 
and  their  painted  imitations  it  was  customary  to  introduce  such  inscribed 
borders  telling  the  story  represented  ;  also  to  identify  the  persons  by 
inscribing  their  names  on  their  garments  or  weapons,  and  sometimes  to 
put  sayings  and  sentences  on  scrolls  issuing  from  their  mouths  :  this  is 
what  Orlando  means  in  As  You  Like  It  when  he  says,  '  I  answer  you 


right  painted  cloth  '.  Portions  of  another  set  of  tapestries  founded  on 
the  Louvre  drawings,  formerly  in  the  Chateau  d'Aulhac,  are  now  in  the 
Court  of  Justice  at  Issoire  in  the  Puy-de-D6me,  and  of  yet  another  in 
the  Chateau  de  Sully  in  the  Loiret.  There  exist  also  fragments  of  other 
sets  of  somewhat  later  date  and  founded  on  different  drawings. 

Thus  we  have  the  means  of  testing  by  actual  comparison  how  far 
the  Troy  picture  so  minutely  described  in  Shakespeare's  Lucrece  corre 
sponds  or  fails  to  correspond  with  the  representations  of  the  subject 
current  in  French  and  Flemish  tapestries  from  a  hundred  years  before 
his  time.  To  make  that  comparison  is  the  object  of  the  present  paper. 
It  may  be  necessary  to  remind  readers  not  specially  conversant  with  the 
subject  that  the  tale  of  Troy  as  known  to  the  Middle  Ages  and  the  early 
Renaissance  was  a  very  different  thing  from  the  tale  as  we  know  it  from 
Homer.  To  the  Middle  Ages  Homer  was  only  a  name  and  was  tradi 
tionally  reputed  a  writer  of  no  credit.  Two  late  and  spurious  Latin 
writings,  one  current  under  the  name  of  Dares  of  Phrygia,  the  other  under 
that  of  Dictys  of  Crete,  were  the  recognized  and  established  authorities 
for  the  story  of  the  wars  of  Troy,  and  were  supposed  to  have  been 
translated  from  Greek  originals  written  by  contemporary  witnesses  of  the 
events.  From  these  books,  with  additions  from  Virgil  and  Ovid,  were 
compiled  all  the  writings  belonging  to  the  Troy  cycle  which  had  currency 
in  the  Middle  Ages,  including  the  great  monumental  work  of  the  cycle, 
the  Roman  de  Troie,  spun  towards  the  close  of  the  twelfth  century  by  the 
French  court  poet  Benoit  de  Sainte-Maure  in  some  40,000  lines  of 
octosyllabic  verse.  A  hundred  years  later  the  Sicilian  Guido  delle 
Colonne  compiled  from  the  romance  poem  of  Sainte-Maure  a  Latin  prose 
Historia  Destructions  Troiae,  which  became  much  better  known  than 
the  original,  and  on  which  the  English  poet  Lydgate  in  his  turn  founded 
his  Troy  Book,  and  many  other  writers  their  summaries  and  allusions, 
till  an  elaborate  French  prose  version  in  three  books,  finished  in 
1464  by  one  Raoul  Le  Fevre,  priest  and  chaplain  to  Philip  Duke  of 
Burgundy,  gave  the  story  a  new  lease  of  life,  gaining  great  popularity  in 
the  circles  which  such  reading  reached  and  helping  to  fill  men's  minds 
with  images  of  the  Grecian  and  Trojan  heroes  doing  battle  in  the  guise 
of  mediaeval  knights,  and  so  to  stimulate  the  demand  for  their  present 
ment  in  works  of  art.  As  is  well  known,  William  Caxton,  then  resident 
and  working  in  Brussels,  began  rendering  Le  Fevre 's  Recueil  into 
English  for  his  amusement  and  was  encouraged  by  the  English  Duchess 
Margaret  to  complete  it  :  and  this  translation,  finished  in  1471  and  put 
in  type  some  three  years  later,  under  the  title  Recuyell  of  the  Histories  of 


Troy,  was  the  first  book  ever  printed  in  the  English  language.  It  was 
reprinted  by  Wynkyn  de  Worde  in  1503  and  again  by  Copland  in  1553, 
and  was  familiar  to  Shakespeare  and  his  contemporaries. 

The  tale  of  Troy,  as  thus  transformed  in  the  Middle  Ages  and 
popularized  at  the  dawn  of  the  Renaissance,  included  a  vast  amount  of 
histories  both  antecedent  and  subsequent  to  the  main  matter  of  the  siege 
and  destruction  of  the  city  by  the  Greeks  in  revenge  for  the  rape  of 
Helen ;  as  for  instance  the  stories  of  Peleus  and  Thetis,  the  history  of 
Jason  and  the  Golden  Fleece,  the  lives  and  achievements  of  Hercules 
and  Theseus,  with  the  first  destruction  of  Troy  in  vengeance  for  the 
treachery  of  Laomedon,  the  return  of  the  Greek  heroes,  including  the 
murder  of  Agamemnon,  the  vengeance  of  Orestes,  and  the  accidental 
killing  of  Ulysses  by  his  son.     Particularly  Le  Fevre  in  his  Recueil 
enormously  amplifies  the  preliminaries  :   it  is  not  until  his  third  book 
that  we  get  to  the  final  siege  under  Agamemnon.     This  was  the  part  of 
the  story  from  which  the  tapestry  designers  chose  their  subjects,  and 
even  so,  the  matters  which  they  had  to  illustrate  took  in  much  which 
we  now  think  of  as  foreign  to  or  outside  the  tale.    They  have  to  show 
how  Priam  dispatched  Antenor  and  other  Trojans  to  plead  for  the  return 
of  his  sister  Hesione,  who  had  been  carried  off  by  Hercules  to  Greece, 
where  she  became  the  wife  of  Telamon  ;   how,  this  embassy  being  ill- 
received,  he  next  sent  his  son  Paris  with  a  company  to  carry  off  some 
noble  damsel  of  Greece  for  whom  Hesione  might  be  required  in  exchange  ; 
how  Paris,  having  been  called  upon  by  Mercury  in  a  dream  to  adjudge 
the  prize  of  beauty  between  the  three  goddesses,  gave  it  to  Venus  ;  how 
he  won  the  love  of  Helen  and  carried  her  off  from  the  temple  of  the 
goddess  at  Cythera  ;    then  his  return  with  Helen  to  Troy  ;    the  war 
consequently  made  by  the  Greeks  ;    their  expedition  and  landing  ; 
the  prophecies  of  Calchas  and  of  Cassandra ;    the  subsequent  series 
of  battles  before   the  walls  of  Troy  ;   the  multifarious   actions  and 
debates  in  which  the  heroes,  both  Greek  and  Trojan,  play  sometimes 
the  same  parts  with  which  we  are  familiar  from  Homer,  but  sometimes 
parts  totally  different ;  the  loves  of  Troilus  and  Briseida  (or  Creseida)  ; 
the  love  of  Achilles  for  Polixena,  and  his  advice  to  the  Greeks  to  give  up 
the  siege  ;   the  successive  deaths  of  Hector  and  of  Achilles,  the  latter 
presently  succeeded  as  foremost  Grecian  champion  by  his  son  Pyrrhus  ; 
the  succour  brought  to  Troy  by  the  Amazon  queen  Penthesilea  until  she 
is  slain  by  Pyrrhus  ;  the  treachery  of  Antenor,  who  by  bribery  betrays 
the  sacred  image  of  Pallas  into  the  hands  of  the  Greeks  ;  the  offer  of  the 
Greeks,  as  a  feigned  condition  of  peace,  to  requite  the  loss  and  appease 



the  goddess  by  the  gift  of  a  huge  horse  of  brass  (not,  in  the  Recueil 
version,  of  wood)  ;  the  breaking  out  of  the  Grecian  heroes  from  their 
concealment  within  the  horse  and  the  ensuing  sack  and  rapine,  with  the 
murder  of  Priam  in  the  temple  of  Apollo  ;  the  taking  captive  of  Hecuba 
and  Cassandra  and  Andromache  ;  the  departure  of  the  Greeks,  and  the 
sacrifice  of  Polixena  by  Pyrrhus  on  the  tomb  of  his  father  before  that 
departure  could  be  accomplished. 

All  this  multitude  of  incidents  could  not,  of  course,  be  told  in 
a  single  tapestry  picture,  whatever  its  scale  and  however  crowded  its 
composition,  but  had  to  be  distributed  through  a  series  of  such  pictures. 
The  regular  process,  as  documents  of  the  time  prove,  was  to  employ 
some  learned  clerk  to  prescribe,  to  the  artist  employed  to  make  the 
preliminary  designs,  the  order  and  arrangement  of  the  scenes  to  be 
represented  in  each  picture — if  order  or  arrangement  it  can  be  called, 
for  the  result  was  essentially  a  jumble,  in  which  the  several  scenes  were 
crowded  in  promiscuous  contact  over  and  under  and  beside  one  another, 
without  boundary  or  separation.  The  Louvre  series  of  such  designs 
contains  eight  compositions,  and  the  omission  of  certain  subjects  seems 
to  prove  that  there  were  originally  more.  I  here  reproduce  (Plate  I,  A) 
a  fragment  of  one  of  the  series  showing,  above,  the  scene  of  the  parting 
of  Hector  and  Andromache,  Hector  being  armed  for  the  battle  by  his 
squire  while  Andromache  kneels  holding  up  their  babe  and  imploring 
him  not  to  go,  and  his  mother  and  sisters  and  Helen  join  in  the  prayer  ; 
and  below,  the  same  hero,  armed  and  mounted,  encountering  in  the  street 
his  father  Priam,  who  with  lifted  hand  dissuades  him  (a  non-Homeric 
incident  of  the  mediaeval  versions)  from  taking  the  field.  Plate  I,  B 
shows  a  portion  of  one  of  the  designs  of  the  same  series  as  actually 
executed  in  full  size  on  a  fragment  of  tapestry  from  the  Chateau  d'Aulhac, 
figuring  a  battle  under  the  walls  of  Troy,  with  Troilus  defending  the 
wounded  Hector  against  Achilles  ('  Here  manly  Hector  faints  '),  and 
below,  the  death  of  Memnon,  with  the  Trojan  women  above,  looking 
on  from  the  walls.  Plate  II  reproduces  the  greater  part  of  the  Louvre 
drawing  for  the  scene  of  the  final  sack,  the  same  composition  as  we  see 
actually  carried  out  on  a  great  scale  in  the  tapestry  in  the  cathedral  of 

Now  let  us  go  back  to  the  text  of  Shakespeare  in  Lucrece  and 
compare  it  with  the  examples  of  tapestry  design  thus  illustrated.  It  is 
clear  that  Shakespeare  is  thinking  of  a  single  picture,  not  of  a  series,  but 
of  a  picture  which  included  a  number  of  different  scenes  and  actions  : 
Nestor  haranguing  the  Greeks,  Hector  sallying  out  to  battle,  Ajax 

Plate  I 





quarrelling  with  Ulysses ;  other  Greek  commanders  playing  parts  un 
defined  ;  a  battle  beside  the  Simois,  and  the  final  sack  of  the  city,  with 
the  murder  of  Priam  and  the  mourning  of  Hecuba.  This  means  that  the 
design  and  composition  he  has  in  his  mind's  eye  are  of  the  characteristic 
jumbled  kind  exemplified  in  our  Plate  II,  where  we  see  the  turrets 
of  '  cloud-kissing  Ilion '  (inscribed  *  le  chateau  Ylion ')  closing  the  scene 
at  the  top,  except  where  we  get  a  glimpse  of  the  Grecian  ships  to  the 
extreme  left ;  the  gates  of  the  city,  also  to  the  left,  through  which  the 
Grecian  warriors,  after  their  pretended  retreat  to  Tenedos,  crowd  in  by 
the  help  of  their  comrades  who  pour  out  from  the  belly  of  the  horse 
(in  our  reproduction  a  strip  has  had  to  be  cut  from  this  left-hand  edge 
of  the  scene).  In  front  of  and  beyond  the  horse  a  confused  scene  of 
battle  and  slaughter,  with  many  single  combats,  is  piled  up  without  any 
diminishing  effect  of  perspective  to  indicate  distance.  To  the  right  of 
the  centre  we  see,  above,  the  city  beginning  to  flame,  Greeks  battering 
down  the  houses  with  mace  and  pickaxe,  Helen  and  the  other  women  of 
Priam's  household  taken  captive,  and  below,  the  temple  of  Apollo,  with 
Priam  slain  by  Pyrrhus  as  he  clings  to  the  altar,  and  Hecuba  throwing  up 
her  hands  in  despair  at  the  sight ;  to  the  extreme  right,  above,  the  Greeks 
departing  to  their  ships,  and  below,  as  a  prelude  to  their  homeward 
voyage,  the  sacrifice  of  Polixena  by  Pyrrhus  on  the  tomb  of  Achilles. 
This  manner  of  densely  crowding  the  figures  above  and  among  and 
behind  one  another  is  described  in  minute  detail,  and  with  apparently 
surprised  interest,  by  Shakespeare,  in  relation,  however,  not  to  a  war 
like  action  but  to  a  peaceful  one,  the  discourse  of  Nestor  to  the  Grecian 
host ;  see  the  seventh,  eighth,  and  ninth  stanzas  above  quoted,  beginning 

About  him  were  a  press  of  gaping  faces, 

and  ending 

A  hand,  a  foot,  a  lace,  a  leg,  a  head, 
Stood  for  the  whole  to  be  imagined. 

This  description  definitely  gives  a  fifteenth-century  character  to  the 
design  which  Shakespeare  is  describing,  seeing  that  in  the  sixteenth, 
with  the  growth  of  Italian  influence  and  the  knowledge  of  perspective, 
this  primitive  manner  of  filling  the  space  with  superposed  and  inter- 
tangled  crowds  was  gradually  abandoned,  in  tapestry  as  in  other  fields 
of  design,  for  a  system  of  clearer  and  more  scientific  distribution. 

Of  the  other  particular  incidents  mentioned  by  Shakespeare,  some 
can  and  some  cannot  be  strictly  paralleled  from  the  Louvre  drawings 
or  from  tapestries  executed  after  them.  Nestor  figures  in  one  of  the 
drawings,  but  fighting,  not  haranguing.  The  speaking  gesture,  how- 



ever,  which  Shakespeare  attributes  to  him  ('  Making  such  sober  action 
with  his  hand  ')  could  well  be  illustrated  from  other  scenes  in  the 
drawings,  as  for  example  that  where  Antenor  and  a  group  of  Trojan 
chiefs  plan  their  expedition  to  Greece,  or  that  in  which  Achilles  urges 
upon  the  other  princes  the  abandonment  of  the  siege.  Neither  of  these 
is  here  reproduced  :  but  see  the  action  of  Priam  as  he  pleads  with  Hector 
in  our  Plate  I,  A.  Plate  I,  B  shows  the  Trojan  women  looking  out  from 
the  walls  as  described  by  Shakespeare  in  the  tenth  stanza  of  our  quota 
tion,  though  what  they  are  watching  is  not  a  scene  of  gallant  setting 
forth  but  one  of  battle  ferociously  engaged.  This  illustration  shows, 
moreover,  how  the  figures  in  tapestry  of  this  date  were  habitually 
identified  by  inscriptions  ([polyjdamas,  achilles,  troillus,  hector,  le  roy 
meno  [for  Memnon],  and  so  forth).  Just  so,  we  may  be  sure,  were 
they  identified  in  Shakespeare's  *  well-painted  piece  '. 

Another  group  on  which  Shakespeare  dwells,  as  affording  Lucrece 
the  sight  of  a  misery  equal  to  her  own,  is  that  of  Priam  murdered  by 
Pyrrhus,  with  Hecuba  standing  by  lamenting.  A  corresponding  tapestry 
group  is  depicted  in  our  Plate  II  (the  figure  of  Hecuba  partly  intercepted 
by  that  of  the  sacker  with  his  pickaxe  raised),  dramatically  and  expres 
sively  enough,  although  the  action  is  not  strictly  the  same  as  that  which 
Shakespeare  describes.  Representations  of  this  scene  in  painting  or 
tapestry  were  doubtless  much  in  the  mind's  eye  of  Elizabethan  writers, 
and  served,  along  with  such  printed  texts  as  they  knew,  to  suggest  those 
lines  of  Marlowe,  in  his  play  of  Dido,  Queen  of  Carthage,  which  Shake 
speare  parodies  in  the  well-known  scene  of  Hamlet  with  the  players. 
It  is  to  be  noted  that  in  Lucrece,  as  in  the  existing  tapestries,  the  scene  is 
treated  according  to  the  mediaeval  version  and  not  according  to  Virgil, 
who  represents  all  the  women  of  the  palace  as  present  at  the  murder. 

Following  the  long  passage  quoted  above  from  Lucrece  comes 
another,  not  needed  to  be  given  at  length,  in  which  the  heroine,  accusing 
the  picture  itself,  arraigns  the  lust  of  Paris  and  at  the  same  time  cries  for 
vengeance  on  Pyrrhus  and  the  Greeks  who  are  Troy's  enemies,  and  ends : 

Lo,  here  weeps  Hecuba,  here  Priam  dies, 
Here  manly  Hector  faints,  here  Troilus  swounds, 
Here  friend  by  friend  in  bloody  channel  lies, 
And  friend  to  friend  gives  unadvised  wounds, 
And  one  man's  lust  these  many  lives  confounds: 
Had  doting  Priam  check'd  his  son's  desire, 
Troy  had  been  bright  with  fame  and  not  with  fire. 

Then  we  have  another  and  longer  passage  in  which,  looking  round  for 
objects  of  compassion,  Lucrece  perceives  the  figure  of  the  traitor  Sinon 

Plate  II 


t?; ' 

A  W,v£^,-f  '  -£tfT  M  ?V-  P:'^ 

lijglL£^?*&'  ^>;  ~':,v^{\_ii-;,rN\  Ha.^> 

^S^&c^r%J*«*aL  ->^  ^l^^sferS^^3^\ 

y  ;M 



j^s^^F  ~*rr?r  r^ 


•*...J.  '\S  {;;•*•.    I   nuM«*  ... ^»»a»-x— •> 

fl^:--  I 


'  -^-••-.vTT'V.*»-:i?m*f'*?tf,r,JJ 

jfc'  iiiai^ 


-^    .x=*//  ,v^      Ar/J  ^x    .1 




— u&— -^=~i''  ^  :\Trr gy ^     v'Tr  ^^;"^rk.  r^ne^     /  -  /  K/-- 

^W^^TO^.iir^lS  ^Mj7^J  •'    /    ^* 


•       .•  '  /  r ->^f^ri -.^^ff*? ---AJ  '-"S*;1^ 

l5^>^"7^f-'7    -CW:*-' N»"  ;"x-*r  ".  "J  /       -  «s>-~ 



---/'      ^<^>^" 

/  ^  -~ 



where  he  stands  disguised,  in  pitiable  garb  and  mien,  and  inveigles  the 
Trojans  with  the  false  tale  of  the  wooden  horse.  She  turns  upon  this 
figure  and  likens  the  plausible  wickedness  of  Sinon  to  that  of  her  own 
betrayer,  Tarquin.  Now  in  the  mediaeval  versions  of  the  Troy  story 
Sinon  plays  a  very  small  part.  He  is  just  mentioned  as  the  inventor 
or  co-inventor  of  the  wooden  (or  brazen)  horse,  and  as  entering  the  city 
with  it,  and  no  more  :  probably  the  figure  mounted  on  the  horse  in 
Plate  II  is  he.  But  the  story  of  his  feigned  tale  to  Priam,  which  fills  so 
great  a  place  in  the  second  book  of  the  Aeneid,  fills  none  in  the  Roman 
de  Troie  or  the  Recuyell,  and  it  is  not  from  mediaeval  tradition  but  direct 
from  Virgil  that  Shakespeare,  or  the  painter  whose  work  he  describes, 
has  taken  it. 

To  sum  up,  then,  we  have  to  conceive  of  the  painting  so  minutely 
dwelt  upon  in  Shakespeare's  Lucrece  as  a  painted  cloth  or  hanging 
designed,  in  the  main,  according  to  the  traditions  of  the  French  and 
Flemish  tapestry-designers  of  1480-1500,  but  already  containing  scenes 
— especially  the  Sinon  scene — which  did  not  occur  in  their  accepted 
literary  sources,  and  which  accordingly  they  were  not  accustomed  to 
include.  As  to  the  praises  which  Shakespeare  lavishes  on  the  execution, 
the  *  sweet  observance '  in  the  faces  of  the  women  watching  from  the 
walls,  the  *  grace  and  majesty '  of  the  commanders,  the  subtle  *  art  of 
physiognomy '  in  the  respective  countenances  of  Ajax  and  Ulysses,  the 
moving  representation  of 

Time's  ruin,  beauty's  wrack,  and  grim  care's  reign 

in  Hecuba,  the  guile  shown  lurking  beneath  the  tears  of  Sinon — as  to 
these,  we  must  attribute  at  least  the  chief  part  of  them  to  the  dramatizing 
power  of  the  poet's  imagination.  Even  in  the  finest  works  of  tapestry 
play  of  facial  expression  is,  from  the  nature  of  the  craft,  not  a  strong 
point,  and  in  our  existing  Troy  tapestries  much  is  lost  of  the  not  incon 
siderable  share  of  that  quality  which  appears  in  the  Louvre  preliminary 
sketches.  Painting  done  with  a  brush  has  of  course  more  freedom :  but  it 
is  not  likely  that  the  painter  of  such  a  figured  cloth  as  we  conceive  to  have 
caught  Shakespeare's  eye  and  attention  could  have  been  of  a  rank  to 
give  his  faces  a  tithe  of  the  living  character  which  the  poet  claims  for 
them,  and  we  must  take  him  as  describing,  in  this  respect,  not  so  much 
what  he  actually  found  in  the  picture  as  what  his  own  genius  would 
have  prompted  him  to  put  there  had  he  been  an  artist. 

H  2 


FOR  some  years  past  I  have  been  making  a  study  of  portraiture 
during  the  Tudor  period,  a  period  extending  in  this  purview  from  the 
death  of  Holbein,  in  1543,  to  the  arrival  of  Van  Dyck,  in  1632  ;  in  short, 
a  period  of  about  one  hundred  years.    One  hundred  years  of  English 
history  !     How  much  this  means  and  has  always  meant.    Think  of  the 
hundred  years  that  have  been  spent  since  Napoleon  Bonaparte  lost  his 
last  stake  on  the  field  of  Waterloo.    Who  will  be  bold  enough  to  foretell 
what  may  have  happened  to  England  before  another  hundred  years 
have  elapsed.    Three  hundred  years  ago  William  Shakespeare  was  laid 
to  rest  in  the  church  of  the  Holy  Trinity  at  Stratford-upon-Avon,  in 
which  town,  fifty-two  years  before,  he  had  first  seen  the  light.    In  the 
year  that  William  Shakespeare  was  born  Elizabeth  had  been  but  six 
years  on  the  throne.    All  the  great  actors  in  the  great  world-drama  of 
the  Elizabethan  era  figured  on  the  stage  of  history  during  the  lifetime 
of  William  Shakespeare.    Set  a  number  of  Elizabethan  portraits  in  rows 
before  the  eye,  men  and  women  together  ;  add,  if  you  like,  portraits  of 
ten  or  twenty  years  earlier,  and  ten  or  twenty  years  of  the  reign  of  King 
James  I.    Study  them  well,  for  in  these  portraits  you  will  see  much  of 
the  making  of  England.    You  will  see  real  men  and  real  women  beneath 
the  rich  and  fantastic  costumes,  which  seem  so  strange  to  our  dullard 
comprehensions.    Leicester,  Essex,  Raleigh,  Drake,  Frobisher,  Hawkins, 
Burghley,  Walsingham,  Sidney,  Queen  Bess  herself — how  bright  they 
shine  in  the  empyrean  of  history.    Truly  this  was  a  Period,  perhaps  the 
greatest  Period  in  the  history  of  England ! 

During  this  Period  England  was  in  the  making.  The  Tudor  sove 
reigns  were  interlopers,  whose  very  nobility  of  birth  was  a  matter  of 
doubt.  Sprung  originally  from  a  dubious  union  between  a  Welsh 
adventurer  and  a  French  queen,  grafted  on  to  royal  stock  by  marriage 
with  a  princess,  whose  own  claim  to  royal  lineage  was  vitiated  by  more 
than  doubtful  legitimacy,  the  Tudors  found  themselves  confronted  with 
the  great  families  who  traced  their  royal  or  noble  lineage  to  Plantagenet 


and  Norman  ancestors.  The  Tudors  therefore,  from  Henry  VII  to 
Elizabeth,  played  the  people  of  England  against  the  old  nobility,  and 
by  this  encouragement  raised  the  country  folk  out  of  the  furrows 
of  feudalism.  Students  of  family  history  and  genealogy  are  familiar 
with  the  rise  under  the  Tudor  dynasty  of  the  yeoman  farmer  to  the 
dignity  of  a  gentleman.  The  spirit  of  adventure  was  encouraged,  and 
younger  sons  of  the  yeoman  and  the  squire  sought  and  won  their  fortunes 
in  commerce,  at  the  law,  or  in  adventures  in  foreign  lands.  Then  they 
returned  and  settled  back  on  the  land  of  their  birth,  where  they  founded 
noble  families  of  good  English  stock. 

From  such  a  stock  came  William  Shakespeare,  both  on  his  father's 
and  his  mother's  side,  from  a  family  of  local  yeomen  righting  their  way 
up  to  the  ranks  of  gentility.  No  man  was  more  thoroughly  English  than 
Shakespeare,  English  in  the  place  and  circumstances  of  his  birth,  English 
in  the  smattering  of  education  which  he  got  in  the  local  grammar  school, 
but  which  proved — as  with  most  Englishmen— that  *  small  Latin  and 
less  Greek  '  may  be  good  foundations  for  success  in  after  life.  English 
were  the  haphazard  adventures  of  his  early  life  at  Stratford-upon-Avon, 
and  the  marriage  in  which  he  became,  perhaps  unintentionally,  in 
volved  ;  English  the  spirit  of  adventure  which  took  him  up  to  live  by 
his  wits  in  London  ;  most  English  of  all  the  way  in  which  he  returned, 
when  prosperity  shone  on  him,  to  his  native  town,  with  apparently  no 
aspirations  beyond  those  of  land-ownership  and  an  alderman's  gown. 
English  also  is  Shakespeare's  own  reticence  about  the  circumstances  of 
his  own  life.  At  no  time  does  he  seem  to  have  been  conscious  of  his 
greatness  or  of  the  part  he  was  taking  in  the  formation  of  the  national 
character.  Shakespeare  was  throughout  life  what  is  sometimes  called 
middle-class,  but  is  better  described  as  bourgeois.  He  liked  to  be  called 
a  gentleman,  entitled  to  bear  a  coat-of-arms,  but  he  always  recognized 
the  social  gulf  which  lay  between  him  and  such  high-born  magnates  as 
the  Earls  of  Pembroke,  Southampton,  or  Leicester.  The  perils  of  high 
birth  and  position  were  familiar  to  Shakespeare.  Literary  gifts  had  not 
saved  Surrey,  Wyat,  or  Raleigh  from  the  block,  Philip  Sidney  from  the 
fatal  wound  at  Zutphen,  or  Francis  Bacon  from  that  sad  fall  from  the 
highest  post  in  the  land.  Shakespeare  himself  sums  up  the  dangers  of 
greatness  in  the  fall  of  Cardinal  Wolsey  : 

How  wretched 

Is  that  poor  man  that  hangs  on  princes'  favours! 
There  is,  betwixt  the  smile  we  would  aspire  to, 
That  sweet  aspect  of  princes,  and  their  ruin, 
More  pangs  and  fears  than  wars  or  women  have. 


So  much  the  greater  was  the  achievement  of  William  Shakespeare. 
Sum  up  all  the  literature  of  the  great  Elizabethan  Period  and  it  will  be 
found  that  out  of  the  mass  of  precious  literature,  which  this  Period  put 
forth,  two  creations  emerge  which  have  had  a  share  in  the  shaping  of 
the  world  :  the  plays  of  Shakespeare  and  the  Authorized  Version  of  the 
Bible.  The  English-speaking  race  has  spread  itself  since  Shakespeare's 
day  over  a  great  part  of  the  inhabited  world,  and  wherever  the  English 
race  has  penetrated  and  settled  it  has  brought  with  it  Shakespeare  and 
the  Bible.  It  was  only  inexorable  fate  which  prevented  Shakespeare 
from  being  alive  when  the  Mayflower  sailed  from  Southampton  to  the 
New  World.  The  struggle  for  the  New  World  was  one  of  the  dominating 
ideas  of  the  Elizabethan  Period,  but  it  has  been  the  peaceful  influence 
of  the  Bible  and  Shakespeare  which  has  bound  the  English-speaking 
races  in  one  chain  of  family  union.  All  the  armaments  in  the  world 
could  not  have  done  this. 

Not  many  years  after  Shakespeare's  death  Van  Dyck  painted  the 
Cavalier  poet,  Sir  John  Suckling,  standing  with  a  folio  volume  of 
Shakespeare  in  his  hand.  Shakespeare  might  have  been  alive  at  the 
time  when  this  portrait  was  painted,  so  that  this  tribute  from  one  poet 
to  another  may  be  regarded  as  contemporary,  like  that  of  Ben  Jonson. 
Shakespeare  was  no  advertiser  of  himself  or  his  goods.  He  never 
obtrudes  himself  into  his  works,  except  perhaps  in  the  Sonnets,  which 
are  charged  with  the  exaggerated  passion  and  romance  of  youth.  Yet 
throughout  the  long  series  of  Shakespeare's  works,  both  poems  and 
dramas,  there  is  a  note  of  individualism  which  makes  a  thought,  a  phrase, 
a  scene,  such  as  could  only  have  been  conceived  and  written  by  Shake 
speare.  With  Shakespeare  we  move  in  no  enchanted  palace  as  with 
Spenser,  in  no  solemn  cathedral  aisles  as  with  Milton  ;  we  do  not  tread 
the  depths  of  hell  as  with  Dante,  or  get  merged  in  the  empyrean ;  we 
need  no  guide  to  scale  a  mountain  height  as  with  Goethe.  Shakespeare 
is  just  ourselves,  though  he  has  been  dead  for  three  hundred  years,  our 
never-failing  friend  and  counsellor,  whose  thoughts  are  as  fresh  and 
as  bright,  as  sage  and  as  suggestive,  as  they  were  three  hundred  years  ago. 
Shakespeare  is  immortal  because  he  can  never  grow  old ;  although  he 
may  be  looked  upon  as  the  final  consummation  of  the  great  Elizabethan 
Period,  his  work  belongs  to  the  twentieth  century  as  much  as  to  the 

Again,  let  it  be  repeated  that  of  no  other  writings  can  this  be  said, 
except  the  Authorized  Version  of  the  Bible.  It  may  safely  be  said  that 
the  sun  never  sets  on  Shakespeare  and  the  Bible.  Three  hundred  years 


have  elapsed  since  William  Shakespeare  was  laid  to  rest  at  Stratford- 
upon-Avon,  but  in  every  part  of  the  globe,  wherever  the  English  heart 
beats  true,  Shakespeare's  words  ring  as  loud  and  true  to-day  as  they 
did  when  King  Henry  V  first  spoke  them  on  the  boards  of  the  Globe 
Theatre : 

On,  on,  you  noblest  English, 

Whose  blood  is  fetch'd  from  fathers  of  war-proof! 
Fathers,  that  like  so  many  Alexanders, 
Have  in  these  parts  from  morn  till  even  fought, 
And  sheath'd  their  swords  for  lack  of  argument : 
Dishonour  not  your  mothers ;   now  attest, 
That  those  whom  you  call'd  fathers  did  beget  you. 
Be  copy  now  to  men  of  grosser  blood, 
And  teach  them  how  to  war;   and  you,  good  yeomen, 
Whose  limbs  were  made  in  England,  show  us  here 
The  mettle  of  your  pasture ;  let  us  swear 
That  you  are  worth  your  breeding,  which  I  doubt  not : 
For  there  is  none  of  you  so  mean  and  base, 
That  hath  not  noble  lustre  in  your  eyes; 
I  see  you  stand  like  greyhounds  on  the  slips, 
Straining  upon  the  start.    The  game's  a-foot: 
Follow  your  spirit;   and,  upon  this  charge, 
Cry,  God  for  Harry,   England,  and  Saint  George. 

Nobles  and  yeomen,  officers  and  men,  hand  in  hand,  are  facing  the 
strongest  enemy  that  England  has  ever  known,  stronger  than  the  Spain 
which  threatened  England  in  the  days  of  Elizabeth,  stronger  than  the 
France  of  Joan  of  Arc  or  of  Napoleon.  The  greatness  of  England  is 
mirrored  throughout  the  works  of  Shakespeare.  It  is  fitting  that  at 
such  a  crisis  in  the  history  of  England  the  nation  should  be  called  upon 
to  remember  the  truest,  the  most  complete  Englishman,  not  only  of  the 
Elizabethan  Period,  but  of  our  own  England,  our  own  Empire,  and  our 
relations  in  the  United  States  of  America  ;  the  England,  not  only  of 
ourselves,  but  of  our  children  and  our  children's  children  to  the  end 
of  time. 



,  1916 

Now  when  the  sinking  Sun  reeketh  with  blood, 
And  the  gore-gushing  vapours  rent  by  him 
Rend  him  and  bury  him  :    now  the  World  is  dim 
As  when  great  thunders  gather  for  the  flood, 
And  in  the  darkness  men  die  where  they  stood, 
And  dying  slay,  or  scattered  limb  from  limb 
Cease  in  a  flash  where  mad-eyed  cherubim 
Of  Death  destroy  them  in  the  night  and  mud  : 
When  landmarks  vanish — murder  is  become 
A  glory — cowardice,  conscience — and  to  lie, 
A  law — to  govern,  but  to  serve  a  time  : — 
We  dying,  lifting  bloodied  eyes  and  dumb, 
Behold  the  silver  star  serene  on  high, 
That  is  thy  spirit  there,  O  Master  Mind  sublime. 

RONALD  Ross. 

March  22, 1916. 

W.  H.  DAVIES  105 


THINKING  of  my  caged  birds  indoors, 
My  books,  whose  music  serves  my  will ; 

Which,  when  I  bid  them  sing,  will  sing, 
And  when  I  sing  myself  are  still ; 

And  that  my  scent  is  drops  of  ink, 
Which,  were  my  song  as  great  as  I, 

Would  sweeten  man  till  he  was  dust, 
And  make  the  world  one  Araby  ; 

Thinking  how  my  hot  passions  make 
Strong  floods  of  shallows  that  run  cold — 

Oh  how  I  burn  to  make  my  dreams 

Lighten  and  thunder  through  the  world  ! 

W.  H.  DAVIES, 




IT  is  commonly  acknowledged  that  the  two  literary  influences  that 
have  had  the  most  to  do  with  the  development  of  the  English  language 
are  Shakespeare  and  the  Bible.  Which  of  these  influences  has  been  the 
more  powerful  it  would  not  be  easy  to  determine.  But  even  if  it  be  true 
that  the  foremost  place  in  this  respect  must  be  given  to  the  Bible,  this 
does  not  imply  that  the  contribution  of  the  whole  body  of  the  translators 
to  the  formation  of  the  language  has  surpassed  or  equalled  in  amount  or 
importance  that  of  the  one  poet.  The  English  language  does  indeed 
owe  many  felicitous  innovations  to  the  genius  of  these  men — above  all, 
to  the  sagaciously  directed  industry  of  Tindale  and  the  poetic  instinct 
of  Coverdale  ;  yet  the  addition  which  the  Bible  has  made  to  the 
resources  of  the  language  is  only  in  very  small  part  to  be  ascribed 
to  them.  Even  if  the  translators  had  possessed  no  qualifications  beyond 
a  knowledge  of  Hebrew  and  Greek,  and  the  most  ordinary  degree  of 
skill  in  the  use  of  their  own  language,  their  work  would  have  none  the 
less  abounded  in  transplanted  Oriental  idioms  and  metaphors  ;  and 
these  would  still  have  found  their  way,  enriched  in  meaning  by  their 
sacred  associations,  into  the  common  speech  of  Englishmen.  The 
indebtedness  of  the  English  language  to  the  Bible  is  indeed  enormous  ; 
but  by  far  the  heavier  part  of  the  debt  is  owed,  not  to  the  translators, 
but  to  the  Hebrew  and  Greek  originals.  Nor  must  we — though  it  is 
difficult  to  keep  the  two  things  apart — confound  the  influence  of  the 
Bible  on  our  language  with  its  influence  on  our  literature.  It  has  been 
a  priceless  advantage  to  English  literature  that  our  writers  have  usually 
known  their  Bible  well,  and  were  able  to  trust  their  readers  to  recognize 
an  allusion  to  it.  But  while  this  allusive  use  of  the  Bible  means  a  great 
enrichment  of  the  resources  of  effective  literary  expression  at  the  dis 
posal  of  English  writers,  it  is  in  the  main  the  literature  and  not  the 
language  that  has  been  the  gainer  ;  except  in  so  far  as  expressions  that 
were  originally  allusive  have  gained  a  currency  in  which  their  source 
is  no  longer  constantly  recognized. 


All  this  has  to  be  borne  in  mind  if  we  are  to  estimate  correctly  the 
share  of  Shakespeare  in  the  making  of  the  English  language,  as  compared 
with  that  of  the  translators  of  the  Bible.  We  must  remember  that  what 
he  gave  to  his  native  tongue  he  gave  of  his  own.  Setting  aside,  as  we 
ought  in  this  connexion,  the  multitude  of  Shakespearian  allusions  in 
daily  proverbial  use  which  owe  all  their  effect  to  the  suggestion  of  the 
context,  there  are  not  a  few  of  the  poet's  turns  of  phrase  that  may  fairly 
be  said  to  have  become  idioms  of  the  language,  being  continually  used 
without  even  a  thought  that  they  must  have  had  some  definite  literary 
origin.  Even  when  we  are  familiar  with  the  passages  of  the  plays  in 
which  they  occur,  it  often  suddenly  strikes  us  that  we  have  overlooked 
some  peculiar  appropriateness  in  their  place,  which  proves  that  they 
were  there  used  for  the  first  time.  Such  are  'a  tower  of  strength1', 
c  coign  of  vantage ',  *  household  words  ', '  in  my  heart's  core  ',  *  the  head 
and  front ', '  yeoman  service ',  *  curled  darlings  ',  *  to  out-Herod  Herod  ', 
*  metal  more  attractive  ',  *  a  palpable  hit ',  *  to  the  manner  born ',  *  pomp 
and  circumstance  ', '  made  of  sterner  stuff ',  *  the  melting  mood  '.  Many 
peculiar  shades  of  meaning  of  ordinary  words,  which  would  otherwise 
be  hard  to  account  for,  have  been  traced  to  reminiscences,  not  always 
accurate,  of  passages  of  Shakespeare  in  which  the  use  of  the  word,  if 
not  quite  normal,  is  at  least  well  within  the  limits  of  poetic  licence. 
In  Shakespeare's  hands  the  language  is  strangely  ductile  ;  he  continually 
uses  words  in  novel  extended  senses  which,  when  defined  with  the 
pedantic  rigour  inevitable  in  a  dictionary,  seem  strained  or  faulty,  but 
which  one  feels  to  need  no  justification  when  they  are  read  in  their  con 
text.  Some  of  his  metaphorical  uses,  such  as  the  application  of  the  word 
canopy  to  the  sky,  have  so  taken  root  in  the  language  that  it  is  not  easy 
to  realize  how  audacious  they  must  have  seemed  to  the  first  readers. 

It  is  needless  to  dwell  on  Shakespeare's  well-known  prodigality 
and  felicity  in  the  invention  of  compound  words.  What  has  not  been 
so  commonly  observed  is  his  fertility  in  the  formation  of  new  words  by 
means  of  suffixes  and  prefixes,  and  by  the  conversion  of  verbs  into  nouns 

1  Shakespeare's  sentence,  'The  king's  name  is  a  tower  of  strength '  (Rich.  Ill,  V.  iii.  12), 
looks  like  a  reminiscence  of  Proverbs  xviii.  10,  which  if  literally  translated  from  the  Hebrew 
would  read, '  The  name  of  the  Lord  is  a  tower  of  strength  '.  The  curious  thing  is  that  no 
English  translation  has  the  literal  rendering  in  this  passage.  The  Douay  version  has  it  in 
Psalm  lx[i].  3,  following  the  turris  fortitudinis  of  the  Vulgate;  but  the  Douay  Bible  is 
much  later  than  Shakespeare's  use  of  the  phrase.  One  is  tempted  to  imagine  that 
Shakespeare  must  somewhere  have  seen  a  literal  translation  of  the  passage  in  Proverbs^ 
and  have  been  struck  with  the  felicity  of  the  expression.  The  proverbial  currency  of  the 
phrase  certainly  seems  to  be  due  to  Shakespeare,  not  to  the  Bible. 


or  of  nouns  into  verbs.  It  is  true  that  many  of  these  formations  failed  to 
be  adopted  by  others,  or  have  become  obsolete  ;  but  many  still  survive. 
So  far  as  the  evidence  goes,  he  may  have  been  the  first  user  of  the  words 
changeful,  gloomy,  courtship.  The  list  of  words  now  familiar  in  literary 
use  for  which  he  is  the  earliest  known  authority  would  be  of  considerable 
length,  and  would  for  most  people  contain  some  startling  surprises.  One 
might  expect  to  find  in  it  such  words  as  cerements,  illume,  but  certainly 
not  denote,  depositary,  impartial,  investment.  It  can  hardly  be  supposed 
that  Shakespeare  was  the  first  writer  to  employ  these  words  ;  but  the 
fact  that  no  earlier  examples  can  be  quoted  does  show  his  eagerness  to 
avail  himself  of  any  useful  innovations  in  vocabulary.  The  same  point 
may  be  illustrated  by  the  large  number  of  words  for  which  the  first 
known  instance  is  only  a  few  years  older  than  the  date  of  their  occurrence 
in  his  works.  His  linguistic  usage,  one  might  say,  always  looks  forward 
rather  than  backward.  For  archaism  as  such  he  had,  to  all  appearance, 
no  liking.  Hardly  anywhere  in  his  writings  (the  *  Gower  '  prologues  in 
Pericles  are  probably  not  his)  is  there  ground  for  suspecting  any  intention 
to  revive  obsolete  words  or  forms.  He  seems  to  have  been  similarly 
uninterested  in  English  rustic  dialect,  which  is  rather  surprising  when 
we  consider  the  evident  relish  with  which  he  reproduces  the  comicalities 
of  the  speech  of  Welshmen.  Although  it  had  long  been  an  established 
custom  on  the  stage  that  countrymen  should  be  represented  as  speaking 
what  was  supposed  to  be  their  native  dialect,  Shakespeare  puts  this 
conventional  jargon  only  into  the  mouth  of  the  disguised  noble  ;  the 
actual  rustics  in  the  plays  speak  ordinary  English. 

Popular  manuals  of  English  literature  usually  contain  some  state 
ment  as  to  the  number  of  words  composing  the  vocabulary  of  Shake 
speare's  plays  and  poems.  The  estimates  vary  between  fifteen  thousand 
and  twenty-four  thousand  words.  I  have  never  met  with  any  account 
of  the  methods  by  which  any  of  these  conflicting  results  have  been 
arrived  at,  nor  do  I  know  who  is  responsible  for  any  of  them.  The 
question  of  the  numerical  compass  of  the  poet's  vocabulary  cannot  from 
any  point  of  view  be  said  to  be  of  great  importance,  but  as  a  matter  of 
curiosity  there  are  probably  many  who  would  be  glad  to  see  it  authori 
tatively  settled.  It  is  certainly  quite  capable  of  being  settled  ;  no  very 
extravagant  expenditure  of  time  would  be  required  to  count  accurately 
the  words  registered  in  Bartlett's  Concordance  to  Shakespeare.  It  is  true 
that  the  task  would  demand  some  degree  of  trained  skill  and  constant 
watchfulness,  as  Mr.  Bartlett's  method  of  arrangement  is  about  as 
inconvenient  as  possible  for  the  purpose  of  such  an  enumeration. 


There  would,  besides,  often  be  no  little  difficulty  in  deciding  what 
ought  to  be  considered  as  a  *  word  '.  The  verbal  nouns  in  -ing,  for 
instance,  and  the  participial  adjectives,  could  hardly  be  brought  under 
a  fixed  rule.  Some  of  these  formations  have  an  unmistakable  claim 
to  a  separate  place  in  the  list,  while  others  it  would  be  absurd  to  count 
as  distinct  from  their  verbs  ;  but  with  regard  to  very  many  of  them 
there  would  be  room  for  doubt.  A  similar  difficulty  would  arise  in  the 
treatment  of  the  compound  words  of  the  poet's  own  invention.  Still, 
if  the  counting  were  intelligently  done,  the  margin  of  uncertainty  in 
the  result  might,  after  all,  not  be  very  great.  Probably  sooner  or  later 
somebody  will  be  found  willing  to  take  the  trouble  to  make  an  exhaustive 
enumeration  of  Shakespeare's  words.  In  the  meantime,  it  may  be 
pointed  out  that  Onions 's  Shakespeare  Glossary  contains  about  ten 
thousand  words  ;  and  as  that  work  deals  only  with  such  words  as  call 
for  some  kind  of  comment,  it  seems  reasonable  to  infer  that  the  complete 
vocabulary  would  extend  to  double  that  number.  There  appears  to  be 
no  reason  to  doubt  the  correctness  of  the  common  belief  that  the  English 
poet  who  surpasses  all  others  in  the  skilful  use  of  words  also  ranks  first 
in  the  number  of  the  words  that  he  has  pressed  into  his  service. 




SHAKESPEARE  excelled  all  predecessors,  contemporaries,  or  succes 
sors  in  his  role  of  inventor  of  language.  A  magical  faculty  of  expression 
was  habitual  to  him,  whereby  word  and  thought  fitted  one  another  to 
perfection.  The  imaginative  splendour  of  his  diction,  and  its  stirring 
harmonies,  are  commonly  as  noticeable  as  the  impressiveness  of  the  ideas. 
Yet  often  we  are  magnetized  by  the  luminous  simplicity  of  the  phrase, 
by  the  absence  of  ornament,  by  the  presence  of  a  graphic  directness  and 
force  which  draw  from  all  readers  or  hearers  an  instinctive  recognition. 
They  realize  that  the  thought  or  feeling  could  be  rightly  expressed  in  no 
other  way,  although  they  are  conscious  at  the  same  time  that  it  is  a  way 
that  is  beyond  their  power  to  reach  unaided.  It  is  because  Shakespeare 
has  said  superlatively  well  what  so  many  think  and  feel,  but  cannot  say 
with  his  apposite  vigour,  that  so  many  of  his  simpler  phrases  have 
become  household  words,  the  idioms  of  our  daily  speech.  Indeed,  there 
is  some  value  in  the  comparison  which  has  been  drawn  between  the 
English  language  to-day  and  a  modern  city  of  Italy,  into  the  walls  of 
whose  palaces  and  into  the  pavements  of  whose  streets  have  been  worked 
fragments  of  the  marble  grandeur  of  the  old  Roman  Empire.  The 
tessellated  fragments  of  many-coloured  stone  suggest  the  opalescent 
relics  of  Shakespearian  language  mortised  into  our  common  speech. 


Of  Shakespeare's  boldness  in  inventing  new  sonorous  terms  of 
foreign  derivation,  many  instances  could  be  given,  but  none  more 
impressive  than  that  familiar  passage  in  Macbeth,  when  Macbeth,  in  his 
agony  at  the  sight  of  Duncan's  blood  on  his  hand,  cries  out : 

Will  all  great  Neptune's  ocean  wash  this  blood 
Clean  from  my  hand?    No,  this  my  hand  will  rather 
The  multitudinous  seas  incarnadine, 
Making  the  green  one  red. 


No  one  before  had  thought  of  such  expressions  as  the  epithet 
multitudinous  or  the  verb  incarnadine.  Incarnadine  of  course  means 
to  colour  with  red  dye  ;  it  is  not  perhaps  a  word  that  circumstances  often 
require,  and  it  did  not  find  general  admission  to  the  language.  But  its 
companion  multitudinous  served  a  wider  purpose,  and  is  with  us  all  still. 


Shakespeare's  gifts  to  our  daily  speech  may  be  classified  in  three 
divisions  :  (i)  sentences  of  his  devising  which  now  enjoy  proverbial 
currency,  (2)  brief  phrases  of  two  or  three  words,  and  finally  (3)  com 
mon  single  words,  including  epithets  compounded  of  more  words  than 
one.  All  the  examples  which  I  cite  are  undisputed  coinage  of  the 
dramatist's  brain  and  pen. 

There  are  several  speeches  in  great  scenes,  of  which  wellnigh 
every  syllable  has,  in  one  or  other  of  these  three  shapes,  been  absorbed 
by  our  daily  utterance.  Let  me  quote  one  such  passage  :  Othello's 
last  speech.  Who  is  not  familiar  with  wellnigh  every  sentence  in 
a  hundred  connexions  which  involve  issues  of  current  life  altogether 
detached  from  the  original  setting  ? 

I  have  done  the  state  some  service, 
And  they  know  it.    No  more  of  that  .  .  . 
Speak  of  me  as  I  am ;    nothing  extenuate, 
Nor  set  down  aught  in  malice:   then  must  you  speak 
Of  one  who  loved  not  wisely  but  too  well. 

Sentences  of  Shakespeare's  which  have  passed  into  proverbs 
include  many  such  as  these  : 

'  The  better  part  of  valour  is  discretion.' 

*  Brevity  is  the  soul  of  wit.' 

*  Assume  a  virtue  if  you  have  it  not.' 

'  The  course  of  true  love  never  did  run  smooth.' 

'  Every  why  hath  a  wherefore.' 

1  Though  this  be  madness,  there  is  method  in  it.' 

1  Thus  conscience  doth  make  cowards  of  us  all.' 

Perhaps  the  isolated  phrases  which  our  speech  owes  to  Shakespeare 
bring  home  to  us  most  emphatically  the  figurative  picturesqueness  with 
which  he  has  endowed  our  lips  in  the  casual  business  of  life.  Here  are 
a  few  : 

*  In  my  mind's  eye.' 

*  More  in  sorrow  than  in  anger.' 


'  The  primrose  path.' 
4  A  thing  of  shreds  and  patches.' 
The  milk  of  human  kindness.' 

*  A  ministering  angel.' 

*  A  towering  passion.' 

*  A  man  more  sinned  against  than  sinning.' 

*  Every  inch  a  king.' 

*  A  divided  duty.' 

*  A  foregone  conclusion.' 

*  Pride,  pomp  and  circumstance  of  glorious  war.' 

*  Give  us  a  taste  of  your  quality  '  and  '  Pluck  the  heart  out  of  my 
mystery  '  are  two  of  many  sentences  of  which  the  main  words  are  woven 
into  the  universal  verbal  web. 

It  is  worthy  of  remark  that  all  these  arresting  phrases  which  mingle 
with  our  daily  breath  come  from  Shakespeare's  tragedies  ;  from  Hamlet, 
Lear,  Othello,  or  Macbeth.  The  public  intelligence  has  thus  instinc 
tively  recognized  where  Shakespeare's  genius  soared  to  its  highest 

All  such  phrases  illustrate  Shakespeare's  peculiar  power  of  infusing 
into  words  which  hitherto  only  bore  a  literal  sense,  a  new  figurative 
significance  which  they  have  since  retained.  When  the  dramatist 
wrote  '  cold  comfort ',  or  *  hollow  friendship ',  he  gave  proof  of  this 
marvellous  power  of  turning  physical  conceptions  to  imaginative  or 
poetic  account. 

Single  words  which  we  owe  to  Shakespeare's  verbal  ingenuity 
are  equally  memorable.  He  had  no  narrow  prejudices  against  foreign 
terms  which  served  his  purpose.  At  times  he  did  not  trouble  to  angli 
cize  a  foreign  formation.  He  left  it  to  the  future  to  complete  the 
naturalizing  process.  Such  seems  to  be  the  history  of  the  words  bandit, 
barricade,  renegade,  and  hurricane.  These  words  Shakespeare  intro 
duced  into  the  language  in  the  foreign  forms  of  bandetto,  barricado, 
renegado,  hurricano.  Some  of  his  verbal  gifts  to  us  which  are  framed 
on  onomatopoeic  principles  perpetuate,  it  would  seem,  sudden  flashes 
of  verbal  inspiration.  Such  seem  to  be  dwindle,  hurry,  bump,  gibber, 
whiz.  More  imposing  inventions,  which  involve  greater  intellectual 
effort,  are  moral  (of  a  fable),  fallacy,  libertine,  and  any  number  of 
illuminating  epithets ;  for  example,  ominous,  jovial,  inauspicious. 



One  mode  of  forming  new  epithets  was  an  invention  of  Shake 
speare's  contemporaries  and  no  device  of  his  own  peculiar  coinage. 
But  Shakespeare  adopted  and  developed  it  with  such  fertility  that  he 
may  well  claim  the  honour  of  having  taught  to  future  ages  its  picturesque 
efficacy.  I  refer  to  his  constant  employment  of  the  double  epithet, 
whereby  he  clad  ideas  of  some  complexity  in  an  original  verbal  garb, 
uniting  charm  with  clarity.  Homer  knew  the  practice,  but  after  his 
time  it  disappeared  from  civilized  speech  ;  not  to  be  revived  till  experi 
ment  was  made  again  with  it  by  the  French  poets  of  the  sixteenth 
century.  Sir  Philip  Sidney,  first  of  Englishmen  to  employ  the  device, 
deliberately  borrowed  it  from  France,  and  Edmund  Spenser  made  trial 
of  it  under  Sidney's  influence.  But  Shakespeare  was  the  English  poet 
to  discover  the  full  potentialities  of  such  word-formation,  and  many 
of  his  composite  inventions  rank  with  our  most  important  and  most 
impressive  verbal  debts  to  him.  None  before  Shakespeare  employed 
such  epithets  as  snow-white,  milk-white,  tear-stained,  cold-blooded, 
crest-fallen,  down-trodden,  low-spirited,  heart-burning,  ill-favoured, 
hollow-eyed,  hot-blooded,  heart-whole,  home-bred,  well-proportioned, 

Like  combinations  enjoy  less  colloquial  currency  and  rank  with 
the  more  select  idioms  which  flourish  in  the  narrower  circles  of  literary 
culture.  Such  are  fancy-free,  trumpet-tongued,  cloud-capped,  silver- 
sweet,  honey-heavy,  sleek-headed,  mouth-honour,  heaven-kissing. 

,  Many  less  dignified  methods  of  forming  compound  words  were  in 
vogue  in  Shakespeare's  time,  and  there  was  no  current  kind  of  verbal 
experiment  to  which  he  did  not  lend  a  hand.  To  his  inventiveness  on 
the  duplicating  principle  which  made  at  the  moment  so  strong  a 
popular  appeal,  we  owe  off-hand  colloquialisms  like  handy-dandy, 
helter-skelter,  hugger-mugger,  skimble-skamble. 

Shakespeare's  contemporaries,  not  himself,  can  claim  the  parental 
honours  in  the  cognate  cases  of  higgledy-piggledy,  and,  I  believe, 



So  penetrating  is  the  Shakespearian  influence  on  our  language, 
such  a  hold  has  his  phraseology  on  the  popular  as  well  as  on  the  culti 
vated  ear,  that  much  of  his  phraseology  has  been  absorbed  by  our 
unwritten,  our  non-literary,  talk  of  the  street. 

*  Cudgel  thy  brains.' 

*  I  know  a  trick  worth  two  of  that.* 

*  Very  like  a  whale.' 

*  Too  much  of  a  good  thing  ' — are  among  Shakespeare's  contri 
butions  to  the  vernacular  which  are  often  characterized  as  illiterate. 
The  popular  use  of  '  bounce ',  in  the  sense  of  boastful  falsehood,  is  one 
of  Shakespeare's  numerous  verbal  innovations,  which  are  generally 
reckoned  more  forcible  than  polite. 

Thus  I  claim  that  Shakespeare  ranks  as  national  hero  by  virtue 
(among  other  achievements)  of  the  vast  expansion  he  effected  in  the 
scope  of  our  national  diction.  Educated  and  uneducated  alike  have 
benefited  by  his  genius  for  graphic  neologisms.  Territorial  expansion 
scarcely  fosters  a  nation's  intellectual  vigour  more  signally  than  a  widen 
ing  of  its  command  of  expressive  speech,  which  ennobles  the  lips,  and 
both  clarifies  and  broadens  thought. 



IF  many  a  daring  spirit  must  discover 
The  chartless  world,  why  should  they  glory  lack  ? 
Because  athwart  the  skyline  they  sank  over, 
Few,  few,  the  shipmen  be  that  have  come  back. 

Yet  one,  wrecked  oft,  hath  by  a  giddy  cord 

The  rugged  head  of  Destiny  regained, 

Who  from  the  maelstrom's  lap  hath  swum  aboard — 

Who  from  the  polar  sleep  himself  unchain'd. 

And  he,  acquainted  well  with  every  tone 
Of  madness  whining  in  his  shroudage  slender, 
From  storm  and  mutiny  emerged  alone, 
Self-righted  from  the  dreadful  self-surrender  : 

Rich  from  the  isles  where  sojourn  long  is  death, 
Won  back  to  cool  Thames  and  Elizabeth, 
Sea- weary,  yes,  but  human  still,  and  whole — 
A  circumnavigator  of  the  soul. 


I  2 




CRIMSON  was  the  twilight,  under  that  crab-tree 
Where — old  tales  tell  us — all  a  midsummer's  night, 
A  mad  young  poacher,  drunk  with  mead  of  elfin-land, 
Lodged  with  the  fern-owl,  and  looked  at  the  stars. 

There,  from  the  dusk,  where  the  dream  of  Piers  Plowman 
Darkens  on  the  sunrise,  to  this  dusk  of  our  own, 
I  read,  in  a  history,  the  record  of  our  world. 

The  hawk-moth,  the  currant-moth,  the  red-striped  tiger-moth 
Shimmered  all  around  me,  so  white  shone  those  pages  ; 
And,  in  among  the  blue  boughs,  the  bats  flew  low. 

I  slumbered,  the  history  slipped  from  my  hand, 
Then  I  saw  a  dead  man,  dreadful  in  the  moon-dawn, 
The  ghost  of  the  Master,  bowed  upon  that  book. 

He  muttered  as  he  searched  it, — What  vast  convulsion 
Mocks  my  sexton's  curse  now,  shakes  our  English  clay  ? 
Whereupon  I  told  him,  and  asked  him  in  turn 
Whether  he  espied  any  light  in  those  pages 
Which  painted  an  epoch  later  than  his  own. 

I  am  a  shadow,  he  said,  and  I  see  none. 
I  am  a  shadow,  he  said,  and  I  see  none. 


Then,  O  then  he  murmured  to  himself  (while  the  moon  hung 
Crimson  as  a  lanthorn  of  Cathay  in  that  crab-tree), 
Laughing  at  his  work  and  the  world,  as  I  thought, 
Yet  with  some  bitterness,  yet  with  some  beauty 
Mocking  his  own  music,  these  wraiths  of  his  rhymes  ; 

God,  when  I  turn  the  leaves  of  that  dark  book 

Wherein  our  wisest  teach  us  to  recall 
Those  glorious  flags  which  in  old  tempests  shook 

And  those  proud  thrones  which  held  my  youth  in  thrall ; 

When  I  see  clear  what  seemed  to  childish  eyes 

The  glorious  colouring  of  each  pictured  age ; 
And  for  their  dominant  tints  now  recognize 

How  thumbed  with  innocent  blood  is  every  page ; 

O,  then  I  know  this  world  is  fast  asleep 

Bound  in  Time's  womb,  till  some  far  morning  break  ; 
And,  though  light  grows  upon  the  dreadful  deep, 

We  are  dungeoned  in  thick  night.     We  are  not  awake. 

The  world  's  unborn,  for  all  our  hopes  and  schemes  ; 
And  all  its  myriads  only  move  in  dreams. 


//  was  a  crimson  twilight,  under  that  crab-tree. 
Moths  beat  about  me,  and  bats  flew  low. 
I  read,  in  a  history,  the  record  of  our  world. 

Ij  there  be  light,  said  the  Master, 
/  am  a  shadow,  and  I  see  none  .  .  . 

/  am  a  shadow,  and  I  see  none. 




DAME  NATURE  on  a  Holiday  bethought  her  of  a  plan, 
To  mix  new  elements  and  clay,  and  make  a  proper  man. 

She  knew  the  fine  rare  dust  to  seek  in  England's  central  shire, 
Brought  dew  from  red  Parnassus'  peak  on  dawning  cloud  of  fire  : 
With  fingers  deft  she  did  them  knead  in  young  Adonis'  form, 
Of  Saxon  and  of  Norman  breed,  with  British  strain  to  warm. 

His  ears  were  shells  from  mystic  beach,  which  taught  him  what  to  hear ; 
She  kept  the  lightning  for  his  speech,  to  make  foul  airs  grow  clear ; 
She  for  his  eyes  found  sunbeams  rare,  to  see  by  their  own  light ; 
And  hid  some  stars  amid  his  hair,  to  guide  his  steps  aright. 

She  took  the  West  Wind  from  the  main,  for  breath  so  soft  and  deep ; 
She  made  the  North  Wind  sweep  his  brain,  it  keen  and  clear  to  keep ; 
She  let  the  South  Wind  bathe  his  heart  to  make  it  warm  and  true ; 
She  would  not  use  the  East  Wind's  art,  so  shrewd  and  snell  it  blew, 
But  called  a  breeze  down  from  the  sky  to  purify  his  soul, 
And  left  it  to  be  guarded  by  a  conscience  firm  and  whole. 

(St.  George  had  come  to  earth  that  year  the  Dragon's  brood  to  fight;1 
He  struck  upon  his  shield  his  spear,  and  waked  the  babe  to  light.) 

She,  like  a  kind  godmother,  cared  to  make  his  training  sound ; 
Found  him  a  home  where  well  he  fared  with  relatives  around  ; 
Gave  him  a  mother  wise  and  brave,  and  a  right  merry  sire, 
A  learned  pedagogue  she  gave,  and  then — his  Heart's  Desire. 

1  It  was  a  Plague  year. 



Dame  Fortune  her  misfortunes  rained  as  jealous  for  her  play, 
And  she  his  Having  all  distrained,  and  took  his  means  away, 
With  iron  chains  she  fettered  him,  loaded  with  heavy  weight, 
Plunged  in  strange  tides  to  sink  or  swim,  and  left  him  to  his  fate. 

He  did  not  sink,  but  bravely  fought  'gainst  storm  and  wind  and  tide ; 
Impediments  ashore  he  brought,  and  poverty  defied. 
When  on  the  stony  shore  he  stood  he  bore  down  Fortune's  taint, 
And  fought  again  the  Dragon's  brood,  like  to  his  patron  saint. 

Dame  Nature  smiled  again,  content,  her  gifts  so  well  bestowed, 
And  she  her  own  White  Magic  lent,  to  lighten  still  his  load. 
He  learned  the  speech  of  beast  and  bird,  men,  women,  angels,  stars ; 
The  love-lore  of  the  past  he  heard,  and  fought  in  ancient  wars. 
She  gave  him  power  to  make  them  live,  to  teach  men's  eyes  to  see, 
And  beauty,  goodness,  truth,  to  give  in  Music's  poesy. 

Men  recognized  Dame  Nature's  cheer,  seen  in  her  darling's  power ; 
They  envied,  blamed,  praised,  loved,  and  clear  his  stars  shone  on  his  hour. 
Creator  of  full  many  a  c  part ',  and  maker  of  his  stage, 
He  thus  became  the  soul  and  heart, — th'  expresser  of  his  age. 

And  what  three  hundred  years  ago  was  made,  doth  still  endure, 
Having  a  life  within  to  glow  and  prove  his  genius  sure. 
If  then  he  was  so  greatly  graced,  now  his  perennial  pow'r 
Hath  on  his  brow  new  glory  placed,  *  the  Present '  still  his  Hour. 
Nothing  so  great  hath  risen  between,  to  dwarf  him  to  our  eyes : 
The  grandest  bard  our  race  hath  seen,  so  let  our  paeans  rise, 
And  *  Hail  to  William  Shakespeare ! '  cry,  our  comfort,  our  delight, 
*  Our  treasury,  our  armoury,  our  champion,  and  our  knight ! ' 




THERE  are  certain  pieces  of  evidence  bearing  on  the  personal 
character  of  Shakespeare  which  I  observe  that  my  old  friend  Sir  Sidney 
Lee,  in  the  new  edition  of  his  monumental  biography,  does  not  put  to 
the  poet's  account.  A  biographer  who  has  to  hold  the  scales  between 
popular  hero-worship  and  partisan  detraction  in  the  interest  of  some 
eccentric  hypothesis,  may  be  excused  if  he  assume  the  port  of  Rhada- 
manthus.  But  the  rank  and  file  of  us  need  not  put  so  much  constraint 
on  our  instincts.  If  the  evidence  in  question  is  good  enough,  if  it  fits 
in  with  the  mental  picture  we  have  formed  of  the  dramatist  from  his 
plays,  and  is  not  inconsistent  with  contemporary  testimony,  we  shall 
incline  to  accept  it,  giving  the  great  man  the  benefit  of  any  doubt. 

There  are  two  passages  which  I  have  chiefly  in  mind  :  of  one  I  can 
speak  quite  shortly ;  the  other  will  require  a  closer  investigation.  The 
first  is  the  newly  discovered  scrap  of  information  about  Shakespeare's 
social  habits  which  Aubrey  apparently  derived  from  the  actor  William 
Beeston,  whose  father  was  with  Shakespeare  in  the  Lord  Chamberlain's 
company.  An  account  of  the  page  of  rough  notes  on  which  this  entry 
was  found,  together  with  a  facsimile  here  reproduced,  was  contributed 
to  The  Collections  of  the  Malone  Society  (i.  324)  by  Mr.  E.  K.  Chambers. 
Mr.  Madan,  Bodley's  Librarian,  whom  Sir  Sidney  Lee  quotes  as  refer 
ring  the  entry  to  Fletcher,  has  since  made  a  thorough  investigation  of 
the  way  in  which  this  page  of  notes  was  put  together,  and  has  convinced 
himself  that  the  entry  refers  to  Shakespeare.  As  Sir  George  Warner 
also  agrees,  it  is  not  necessary  to  argue  this  point  further.  It  must  also, 
I  think,  be  allowed  that  Mr.  Chambers  gives  the  only  possible  tran 
scription  of  the  passage  : 

the  more  to  be  admired  q.  [i.e.  qtiod,  because]  he  was  not  a  company  keeper,  |  lived 
in  Shoreditch,  would  not  be  debauched,  and  if  invited  to  |  writ :  he  was  in  paine. 

Sir  Sidney  Lee  reads  *  if  invited  to  write,  he  was  in  paine  ' ;  but  the 
word  is  unmistakably  *  writ '  followed  by  a  colon,  and  the  omission  of 
the  stop  after  *  invited  to  '  at  the  end  of  the  line  is  paralleled  by  other 

Bodleian  Aubrey  MS.  8,  fol.  45V 

H.  C.  BEECHING  121 

examples  on  the  same  page.  The  word  *  debauched  '  must  be  under 
stood  in  its  general  Elizabethan  use  of  excess  in  eating  or  drinking, 
especially  the  latter  ;  as  when  Trinculo  calls  Caliban  *  a  deboshed  fish  ' 
because  he  had  *  drowned  his  tongue  in  sack  '. 

Taking  it  then  as  certain  that  Aubrey's  rough  note  refers  to  Shake 
speare,  and  that  it  testifies  to  his  disinclination  to  drinking  parties,  the 
interesting  question  arises  how  it  is  to  be  reconciled  with  the  other  note 
about  his  social  habits  which  we  also  owe  to  Aubrey  :  *  He  was  very 
good  company,  and  of  a  very  ready  and  pleasant  smooth  wit.'  This 
tradition  we  instinctively  accept ;  and  support  it  by  the  passage  in 
Fuller's  Worthies,  which  must  be  based  on  tradition  also,  about  the 
*  wit-combats  '  between  Shakespeare  and  Ben  Jonson ;  which  are 
assumed,  not  unreasonably,  to  have  taken  place  at  the  Mermaid.  Shake 
speare,  then,  was  '  very  good  company  '  and  yet  '  not  a  company- 
keeper  '.  It  may  have  been  the  superficial  inconsistency  between  the 
two  traditions  which  led  Aubrey  not  to  add  the  latter  note  to  the  former 
in  his  *  brief  life  '  of  Shakespeare ;  or  of  course  the  omission  may  have 
been  due  to  mere  oversight.  However  this  was,  the  inconsistency  is 
explained  if  we  remember  that  the  newly  discovered  tradition  comes 
from  an  actor.  There  must  have  been  merry-makings  of  actors  and 
their  patrons,  where  the  wine  would  be  more  than  the  wit ;  and  we  may 
judge  that  it  was  from  such  parties  as  these  that  Shakespeare  was  in 
the  habit  of  excusing  himself  on  the  ground  of  indisposition.  We 
certainly  get  an  impression  from  certain  passages  in  the  plays  that  their 
writer  felt  a  disgust  for  drunkenness  :  at  least  we  may  reasonably 
doubt,  if  Ben  Jonson  had  written  Hamlet  and  had  cast  about  for  a  topic  of 
conversation  on  the  battlements  of  Elsinore  while  waiting  for  the  ghost, 
whether  he  would  have  stopped  the  gap  with  a  temperance  lecture. 

A  second  point  in  which  I  would  claim  for  Shakespeare  the  benefit 
of  the  doubt  is  as  to  the  part  played  by  him  in  the  attempted  enclosure 
of  the  common  fields  of  Welcombe  in  1614.  Our  information  comes 
from  a  rough  diary  kept  by  Shakespeare's  cousin  Thomas  Greene,  who 
was  at  the  time  Town  Clerk  of  Stratford.  This  diary  was  reproduced 
in  facsimile  with  a  transcript  in  1885,  but  as  only  fifty  copies  were 
printed  it  is  but  little  known.  The  story  of  the  proposed  enclosure 
is  told  at  greater  or  less  length,  and,  I  must  add,  with  more  or  less  in 
accuracy,  by  the  various  biographers  ;  with  most  detail  by  Mrs.  Stopes 
in  Shakespeare's  Environment^  pp.  81-91,  336-42.  It  would  seem  that 
two  young  gentlemen  of  the  house  of  Combe,  nephews  of  Shakespeare's 
friend,  John  Combe,  made  up  their  minds  to  enclose  part  of  the  common 


fields,  and  were  supported  in  their  scheme  by  a  very  influential  person, 
Mr.  Mannering,  steward  of  the  Lord  Chancellor,  who  was  officially 
lord  of  the  royal  manor  of  Stratford.  A  very  general  motive  for  en 
closure  in  those  days  was  better  farming,  because,  as  the  land  in  these 
common  fields  was  owned  in  strips  of  an  acre,  or  half  an  acre,  a  good 
farmer  might  find  himself  next  to  a  very  bad  one,  and  his  land  suffer 
in  consequence.  That  the  system  has  been  discarded  in  England  is 
some  proof  that  it  had  great  practical  disadvantages.  We  may  con 
jecture  that,  as  the  Chancellor  was  said  to  approve  the  scheme,1  it  was  not 
without  its  recommendations  ;  and  Greene,  in  his  diary,  notes  a  saying 
of  Mr.  Mannering  that  '  if  he  might  not  do  it  well,  he  cared  not  for 
enclosing,  and  cared  not  how  little  he  did  meddle  therein  '.  A  more 
particular  motive  for  enclosure  was  generally  the  wish  for  some  reason 
to  lay  down  the  arable  land  in  pasture.  We  are  told  that  the  increase 
of  arable  through  the  reclamation  of  waste  land  in  the  north  of  Warwick 
shire  had  led  to  a  demand  for  more  pasture  in  the  south  ; 2  and  it  was 
the  declared  intention  of  the  Combes  to  convert  some  200  acres  into 
pasture.  Such  enclosures  were  always  unpopular,  as  they  reduced  the 
demand  for  labour.  Seven  years  before,  there  had  been  disturbances 
at  Hill  Morton  in  the  east  of  the  county,  where  3,000  persons  assembled, 
and  systematically  laid  open  the  enclosed  lands.  In  the  present  case, 
the  proposal  to  enclose  was  resisted  by  the  Town  Council  of  Stratford, 
on  the  special  ground  that  the  tithes  upon  the  *  corn  and  grain  *  had 
been  assigned  by  Edward  VI,  in  their  charter  of  incorporation,  for  the 
maintenance  of  the  vicar,  the  town  bridge,  grammar  school,  and  alms- 
houses  ;  and  that  the  recent  fire  had  so  impoverished  the  town  that 
they  could  not  consent  to  such  a  diminution  of  the  tithes  as  must  accom 
pany  the  proposed  enclosure.  There  seems  no  doubt  that  the  Combes 
at  first  intended  to  buy  out  the  commoners  and  ignore  the  wishes  of 
the  Corporation.  Their  agent  Replingham  told  Thomas  Greene  that 
*  he  cared  not  for  their  consents  '.  But  when  the  opposition  grew,  and 
the  Corporation  presented  a  petition  both  to  the  Privy  Council  in  London 
and  to  the  Chief  Justice  (who  was  the  great  lawyer  Coke)  at  the  local 
Assizes,  William  Combe  sent  them  a  letter3  making  various  alternative 

1  Mr.  Elton  notes  that  Lord  Chancellor  Ellesmere  in  this  very  year  had  decreed  enclo 
sures  to  be  for  the  public  advantage  (William  Shakespeare,  his  family  and  friends,  p.  148). 

2  Common  Land  and  Inclosure,  by  E.  C.  K.  Conner,  p.  147. 

3  The  letter,  dated  24  June,  1616,  is  printed  in  the  Appendix  to  Ingleby's  edition 
of  Greene's  Diary,  and  it  is  surprising  that  none  of  the  biographers  think  it  worth  notice. 
One  of  Combe's  proposals  was  to  give  the  Corporation  the  amount  of  the  tithe  *  in  yearly 
rent  to  be  paid  out  of  any  land  I  have '. 

H.  C.  BEECHING  123 

offers  of  compensation  for  the  tithe  they  would  lose  on  the  land  enclosed ; 
proposals  which,  on  paper,  certainly  appear  equitable  ;  but  the  town, 
we  must  suppose  for  sufficient  reason,  declined  them  all. 

The  only  question  that  matters  to  us  to-day  is  the  view  Shakespeare 
took  of  the  transaction.  His  own  holding  of  about  120  acres,  not  being 
in  the  Welcombe  field,  was  not  affected  by  the  proposal.  But  he  was 
one  of  a  syndicate  which  had  bought  a  lease  of  the  tithes  ;  and  the  throw 
ing  of  the  land  out  of  tillage  would  mean  a  serious  loss  ;  for  his  income 
from  the  tithes  on  the  land  converted  to  pasture  would  cease,  unless  an 
arrangement  were  made  for  tithing  the  stock.  Meanwhile  the  bargain 
with  the  Corporation  would  have  to  be  kept,  and  there  were  twenty- 
two  years  of  the  lease  still  to  run.  Accordingly  the  first  thing  we 
hear  is  that  Shakespeare  entered  into  an  agreement  with  the  Combes* 
agent  Replingham  to  assure  him,  and  also  his  cousin  Thomas  Greene, 
against  loss  *  thro*  the  decreasing  of  the  yearly  value  of  the  tithes 
by  reason  of  the  decay  of  tillage '.  Whether  the  other  members  of 
the  syndicate  made  similar  agreements,  we  do  not  know  :  Greene, 
from  whom  all  our  information  comes,  is  not  concerned  with  them. 
Can  we  see  then  what  was  Shakespeare's  attitude  to  the  proposed 
enclosure  ?  Both  Halliwell- Phillips  and  Sir  Sidney  Lee  are  of  opinion 
that  he,  at  least  tacitly,  supported  the  Combes.  In  such  a  course  there 
would  have  been  nothing  unworthy  if  he  knew  that  they  proposed  to 
make  good  to  the  town  the  loss  of  the  tithes  when  the  lease  fell  in,  as 
they  would  certainly  have  been  compelled  to  do  by  the  Privy  Council ; 
but,  since  the  Corporation  definitely  declared  against  the  scheme,  to 
support  it  would  have  been  unpatriotic.  The  relevant  passages  from 
Greene's  diary  are  the  following  : 

1 7  No  :  My  Cosen  Shakespeare  commy ng  yesterday  to  towne  I  went  to  see  him  howe 
he  did,  he  told  me  that  they  assured  him  they  meant  to  inclose  noe  further  than  to  gospell 
bushe  and  so  upp  straight  (leavying  out  part  of  the  dyngles  to  the  ffield)  to  the  gate  in 
Clopton  hedge  and  take  in  Salisburyes  peece  :  and  that  they  mean  in  Aprill  to  servey  the 
Land  and  then  to  gyve  satisfaccion  and  not  before  and  he  and  Mr.  Hall  say  they  think  there 
will  be  nothying  done  at  all. 

This  conversation  occurred  in  November  1614,  when  Greene  was  in 
London  about  the  business  of  the  Corporation's  petition  to  the  Privy 
Council.  At  this  stage  Shakespeare  and  his  son-in-law  Dr.  Hall  give 
it  as  their  opinion  that  the  Combes  will  drop  their  proposal  in  face  of 
the  opposition  it  has  aroused. 

23  Dec.  A  Hall.  Lettres  wrytten  one  to  Mr.  Mannerying  another  to  Mr.  Shakspeare 
with  almost  all  the  companyes  hands  to  eyther :  I  alsoe  wrytte  of  myself  to  my  Cosen 
Shakspeare  the  coppyes  of  all  our  oathes  [?]  made  then,  alsoe  a  not(e)  of  the  Inconvenyences 
V  old  g(row)  by  the  Inclosure. 


The  letter  to  Mannering  alone  has  been  preserved.  It  sets  forth  the 
'  good  and  godly  uses  and  intents '  to  which  the  tithes  were  allotted  in 
the  charter  of  incorporation,  and  describes  in  pathetic  terms  the  destitu 
tion  which  had  fallen  through  recent  fires  on  the  town,  *  where  lyve  above 
seaven  hundred  poore  which  receave  Almes,  whose  curses  and  clamours 
Wilbee  day  lie  poured  out  to  god  against  the  interp  risers  of  such  a  thinge '. 
Whether  either  Mannering  or  Shakespeare  replied,  or,  if  they  did,  to 
what  effect,  Greene  does  not  tell  us  ;  but  we  have  no  right  to  presume 

Sept.  [1615]  W.  Shakespeares  tellying  J.  Greene  that  I  was  not  able  to  beare  the 
encloseinge  of  Welcombe. 

This  is  the  darkest  of  all  the  dark  sentences  in  Greene's  hastily 
scribbled  diary,  as  it  is  the  most  interesting.  J.  Greene  was  a  brother. 
It  seems  unnecessary  that  Shakespeare  should  have  told  J.  Greene 
a  fact  about  his  brother  which,  if  it  were  a  fact,  he  must  have  known 
better  than  '  cosen  Shakespeare  ',  and  doubly  unnecessary  that  Thomas 
Greene  should  have  made  a  note  of  it.  But  the  fact  is  highly  question 
able.  All  through  the  diary  there  are  scattered  evidences  that,  while 
Greene  acted  with  perfect  loyalty  to  his  Council,  he  was  not  himself  averse 
to  the  project  of  enclosure.  On  January  9,  1615,  there  is  the  report  of 
a  long  conversation  between  Greene  and  somebody  whose  name  he  has 
forgotten  to  give,  probably  Combe  himself,  in  which  Greene  is  promised 
ten  pounds  to  buy  a  gelding,  if  he  would  propound  a  peace  ;  the  course 
suggested  being  a  friendly  suit  which  Greene  was  to  urge  Sir  Henry 
Raynsford  to  propose.  Greene  demurred  on  the  ground  that  Sir  Henry 
would  say  that  the  suggestion  came  from  him,  and  such  a  motion  would 
be  taken  as  *  too  favourable  '  to  the  scheme  of  enclosure,  *  I  knowing 
their  fixed  resolutions  '.  Clearly,  therefore,  Greene  had  no  such  *  fixed 
resolutions '  himself.  He  continues  :  '  I  told  him  yt  was  known  that 
he  was  here,  and  that  I  thought  I  did  nothing  but  both  sydes  heard  of 
yt ;  and  therefore  I  caryed  myself  as  free  from  all  offence  as  I  could  ;  I 
told  him  I  would  do  yt  before  Wednesday  night  to  some  of  the  principall 
of  them  ; '  and  he  notes  in  the  margin  :  *  I  did  yt  the  same  night  at 
their  commyng  downe  to  me  anon  after,  viz.  Mr.  Bayly,  Mr.  Baker, 
Mr.  Walford,  Mr.  Chandler/  As  Mr.  Bayly  is  the  Bailiff,  there  was  nothing 
underhand  in  Greene's  conduct,  but  it  is  impossible  to  represent 
the  most  honourable  of  go-betweens  as  a  strong  anti-enclosure  man. 
Sir  Sidney  Lee  thinks  that  *  Shakespeare's  new  statement  amounted  to 
nothing  more  than  a  reassertion  of  the  continued  hostility  of  Thomas 

H.  C.  BEECHING  125 

Greene  to  William  Combe's  nefarious  purpose  '.  I  should  reply  first 
that  the  purpose  was  in  no  way  *  nefarious  ',  for  the  *  friendly  suit ' 
referred  to  above  implied  compensation  to  be  fixed  by  the  court ;  and 
secondly  that  Greene's  '  hostility  '  is  contradicted  by  his  own  very 
clear  evidence.  He  adds  :  *  Those  who  wish  to  regard  Shakespeare  as 
a  champion  of  popular  rights  have  endeavoured  to  interpret  the  "  I  "  in 
"  I  was  not  able  "  as  "  he  ",  but  palaeographers  only  recognize  the 
reading  "  I  ".'  But  here  it  must  be  pointed  out  that  the  learned  judge 
has  not  got  all  the  facts  on  his  notes.  The  palaeographer  who  edited 
the  facsimile  of  Greene's  diary,  the  late  Dr.  C.  M.  Ingleby,  pointed  out 
in  his  preface  that  Greene  had  a  queer  habit  of  writing  *  I  '  when  he 
meant  *  he  '  ;  and  *  he  '  when  he  meant  *  I  '  ;  sometimes  correcting 
his  blunder,  and  sometimes  not.  He  quotes  an  uncorrected  example 
from  the  first  page  of  the  diary  :  *  I  willed  him  to  learn  what  /  could, 
and  I  told  him  soe  would  I.'  Rhadamanthus  himself  would  be  forced 
to  admit  that  the  second  *  I  '  here  is  a  mistake  for  *  he  '.  It  must  also 
be  admitted  in  the  other  case,  unless  we  prefer  to  impute  to  Shakespeare 
a  want  of  insight  into  his  cousin's  lawyer-like  habit  of  mind,  and  to 
Greene  himself  a  puerile  satisfaction  in  chronicling  such  a  misjudgement. 
If  Shakespeare  backed  the  Combes,  we  should  have  to  charge  him 
with  unneighbourliness.  But  that  is  precisely  the  charge  which  it  is  so 
hard  to  credit.  Dr.  Wallace's  discovery  of  his  good-natured  interest 
in  the  affairs  of  the  son-in-law  of  the  Huguenot  tire-maker  with  whom 
he  lodged  in  1604,  points  in  the  opposite  direction  ;  and  so  does  an 
incident  to  which  Mrs.  Stopes  first  called  attention,  which  is  chronicled 
in  the  very  next  entry  in  Greene's  diary  to  that  under  discussion. 

5  Sept.  his  sendyng  James  for  the  executours  of  Mr.  Barber  to  agre  as  ys  sayd  with  them 
for  Mr.  Barbers  interest. 

Mrs.  Stopes  discovered  that  this  Barber  had  been  harried,  possibly  to 
death,  by  the  Combes  *  about  a  debt  he  stood  surety  for  Mris  Quyney  '. 
Sir  Sidney  Lee  here  comments  :  '  Shakespeare  would  seem  to  have 
been  benevolently  desirous  of  relieving  Barber's  estate  from  the  pressure 
which  Combe  was  placing  upon  it.'  I  think  then  we  have  good  reason 
to  plead  for  the  benefit  of  the  doubt  in  the  matter  of  the  enclosure. 




HAMLET  and  King  Lear  have  a  peculiar  quality  of  unworldliness 
not  to  be  found  in  other  plays  of  Shakespeare.  This  unworldliness  is 
expressed  not  only  in  words,  though  they  express  it  often  enough,  but 
in  the  very  conduct  of  the  play.  It  shows  itself  even  in  a  curious  in 
difference  to  dramatic  success,  an  indifference  that  is  certainly  not  mere 
failure.  In  both  plays  Shakespeare  is  writing  at  the  height  of  his  powers, 
and  writing,  as  usual,  instinctively  for  the  stage.  But,  except  at  the 
opening  of  each  play,  he  is  beyond  aiming  at  dramatic  effect.  Rather 
he  uses  the  dramatic  form,  with  a  skill  that  has  become  unconscious, 
to  reveal  states  of  the  soul ;  and,  when  he  has  attained  to  the  revelation 
of  these,  he  seems  to  forget  the  practical  business  of  the  drama.  In  both 
plays  all  his  dramatic  contrivance  is  used  to  reach  a  certain  situation  as 
swiftly  as  possible  ;  but  when  it  is  reached  the  rest  of  the  play  consists 
of  variations  upon  it,  in  which  the  soul  of  Hamlet  or  Lear  is  laid  bare. 
In  most  plays  we  watch  to  see  what  will  happen  next,  but  at  the  height 
of  Hamlet  and  King  Lear  this  anxiety  about  the  course  of  events  ceases  ; 
the  dramatic  action  seems  to  fade  away  and  the  material  conflict  to  be 
stilled,  so  that  we  may  see  souls  independent  of  time  and  place.  Hamlet 
and  Lear  are  terribly  beset  by  circumstances  ;  but,  when  they  are  most 
beset,  they  escape  into  a  solitude  of  their  own  minds  where  we  are  alone 
with  them  and  overhear  their  innermost  secrets.  Then  the  dramatic 
action  seems  to  have  had  no  object  except  to  lead  them  into  this  solitude, 
where  speech  becomes  thought,  and  there  are  no  longer  any  events 
except  those  of  the  soul. 

There  is  a  point  in  King  Lear  where  the  theme  of  the  play  seems 
to  be  released  from  the  material  conflict  and  to  rise  suddenly  into 
music.  It  is  where  Lear  enters  with  Cordelia  as  a  prisoner  and  cries  : 

We  two  alone  will  sing  like  birds  i'  the  cage. 

To  himself  he  is  alone  with  Cordelia,  and  he  has  learnt  at  last  in  the 


innocence  of  his  madness  to  enter  into  a  heaven  of  intimacy  with  her, 
where  he  can  laugh  at  the  world  like  a  blessed  spirit — 


At  gilded  butterflies,  and  hear  poor  rogues 
Talk  of  court  news ;   and  we'll  talk  with  them  too, 
Who  loses  and  who  wins ;  who 's  in,  who 's  out ; 
And  take  upon  's  the  mystery  of  things, 
As  if  we  were  God's  spies :   and  we'll  wear  out 
In  a  wall'd  prison,  packs  and  sets  of  great  ones 
That  ebb  and  flow  by  the  moon. 

That  phrase — *  Take  upon  's  the  mystery  of  things  ' — expresses  exactly 
what  seems  to  happen  to  Lear  and  Hamlet  when  they  pass  into  this 
sudden  peace  at  the  height  of  the  storm  ;  and  Hamlet  himself  speaks 
not  only  to  Rosencrantz  and  Guildenstern,  or  of  one  particular  incident, 
but  to  all  worldly  wisdom,  when  he  says  :  *  You  would  play  upon  me  ; 
you  would  seem  to  know  my  stops  ;  you  would  pluck  out  the  heart  of 
my  mystery.'  These  moments  of  the  soul  are  not,  cannot  be,  explained 
even  by  the  poet  himself.  This  unworldliness,  unearthliness  even, 
attained  to  through  the  disaster  of  an  earthly  conflict,  is  something 
beyond  all  analysis,  something  that  we  can  only  parallel  in  the  works 
of  Dostoevsky,  where  there  is  the  same  use  of  the  story  to  reveal  states 
of  the  soul,  the  same  indifference  to  dramatic  effect  and  even  to  the 
difficulties  of  the  reader.  Hamlet  is  puzzling,  like  Dostoevsky's  people, 
because  Shakespeare  draws  his  very  soul  and  not  his  motives.  He  is 
the  most  vivid  character  in  all  drama,  yet  we  know  his  motives  no  more 
than  we  know  our  own  when  we  are  deeply  moved.  What  we  do  know 
is  the  peculiar  quality  of  his  mind,  and  above  all  that  passionate  un 
worldliness  which  makes  him  so  lonely  at  the  court  of  Denmark  that  he 
cannot  find  a  companion  even  in  the  man  or  the  woman  that  he  loves. 
He  must  be  always  misunderstood  there,  as  he  has  been  misunderstood 
ever  since  ;  and  this  weighs  on  his  mind  even  when  he  is  dying.  His 
tragedy  is  really  the  tragedy  of  loneliness,  and  his  seeming  madness 
is  the  exasperation  of  loneliness,  which  always  becomes  most  intense 
when  he  is  with  worldly  people  and  stung  by  some  proof  of  their  mis 
understanding.  We  may  be  sure  that  in  it  Shakespeare  expressed  the 
exasperation  of  his  own  loneliness,  which  he  must  have  felt  as  soon  as 
success  lost  its  freshness  for  him.  He  could  not  content  himself,  even, 
with  the  success  of  the  artist,  of  brilliant  plays  like  Henry  V  or  As  You 
Like  It.  So  he  turned  from  the  world  with  a  religious  longing  for  escape, 
which,  being  a  poet,  he  could  find  only  in  his  art  and,  imaginatively,  in 


the  purged  souls  of  Lear  and  Cordelia  and  Hamlet,  which  are  all  his  own 
soul  projected  imaginatively  into  the  purging  of  tragedy.  These  two 
plays  tell  us  that  he  could  not  consent  to  a  private  happiness  of  this 
world,  that  he  took  upon  himself  the  mystery  of  things  and  the  suffering 
of  infinite  possibilities.  They  tell  us,  whatever  his  outward  life  may 
have  been,  of  the  far  adventures  of  his  soul,  through  which  he  reached 
these  furthest  heights  of  poetry. 




As  far  as  I  can  judge,  no  greater  service  can  be  rendered  to  Shake 
speare,  and  therefore  also  to  literature,  than  by  some  vindication  of  the 
character  of  our  great  poet.  In  a  recent  book  (Shakespeare:  the 
Man  and  his  Work)  I  first  endeavoured  to  disprove  the  theories  of  those 
writers  who  represent  him  as  long  dominated  by  a  degrading  passion 
for  a  degraded  woman — the  *  Dark  Lady '  of  the  Sonnets.  My  critics 
kindly  gave  it  as  their  opinion  that  I  had  proved  my  case — which  was 
this  :  *  Whether  as  the  lady  of  the  intrigue,  or  as  mere  mistress,  the 
woman  has  an  impossible  story,  utterly  untrustworthy  as  material  for 

Secondly,  inasmuch  as  religion  and  ethics  are  often  a  twofold 
morality  of  sentiment  and  practice,  I  next  endeavoured  to  ascertain 
Shakespeare's  religious  opinions,  with  the  aid  chiefly  of  his  Sonnets. 
I  found  that  (if  I  may  again  quote  from  Shakespeare  :  the  Man  and  his 
Work)  '  however  much  the  phrase  may  startle  our  more  enlightened 
atheism,  he  was  "  a  God-fearing  Christian  '  '.  In  this  endeavour  also 
my  critics  accounted  me  successful.  On  the  present  occasion  I  trust 
to  reinforce  my  former  arguments  by  a  brief  examination  of  the  Poems 
of  Shakespeare. 

If  nothing  had  been  known  about  Spenser  except  that  he  was  the 
author  of  the  Faerie  Queene  (and  the  same  might  be  said  of  Milton  and 
his  Comus),  we  should  still  have  been  able  to  form  a  reliable  estimate 
of  his  ethics  and  his  religious  opinions.  Now,  as  it  seems  to  me,  the 
two  poems  Venus  and  Adonis  and  the  Rape  of  Lucrece  will  enable  any 
unbiased  reader  to  form  a  similar  estimate  with  regard  to  Shakespeare  ; 
in  other  words,  that  he  was,  like  Spenser,  *  a  God-fearing  Christian '. 
This  I  shall  at  least  endeavour  to  demonstrate. 

All  criticism  is  ultimately  comparative  ;  there  is  no  such  thing  as 
inductive  criticism.  We  read  these  poems,  and  we  say  :  *  Marlowe 
among  Elizabethans  might  emulate  their  beauty  and  poetic  force,  but 
the  spirituality  of  their  vision,  the  loftiness  of  their  wisdom,  he  could 



not  emulate  ;  under  this  head  we  must  refer  again  to  Spenser.*  Then 
we  note  the  description  of  Lucrece  as  a  *  graver  labour  ' ;  this  phrase 
would  hardly  have  been  employed  by  Marlowe,  though  it  might  by  the 
author  of  the  Foure  Hymnes.  But  even  with  the  corroboration  of  con 
temporary  opinion  we  need  not  extort  from  the  phrase  any  undue 
significance  ;  it  implies  at  least  that  the  Venus  was  a  lighter  theme, 
chosen  in  some  measure  to  please  a  patron,  and  that  the  later  poem, 
if  not  a  corrective,  would  express  the  poet's  weightier  convictions.  And 
of  course  the  poems  are  in  some  respects  counterparts — the  obverse 
and  reverse  of  one  poetic  coin. 

Turning  now  to  the  Venus,  we  first  examine  its  motives,  all  of 
which,  we  may  note,  are  to  be  found  in  the  Sonnets.  There  is  the 
central  theme—  *  When  a  woman  woos  '  ;  next,  the  two  *  patron  ' 
themes  of  youth  and  beauty  in  man,  and 

Seeds  spring  from  seeds,  and  beauty  breedeth  beauty; 
Thou  wast  begot;   to  get  it  is  thy  duty; 

and  of  the  remaining  reflections  by  far  the  most  important  are  those  that 
point  to  the  contrast  between  love  and  lust. 

This  is  treated  something  after  the  manner  of  antitheta.  First,  we 
have  the  arts  and  arguments  of  Venus — an  '  idle  over-handled  theme ', 
the  poet  calls  it — 

1  Love  is  a  spirit  all  compact  of  fire  .  .  .' 

*  Affection  is  a  coal  that  must  be  cool'd  .  .  .' 

'  Make  use  of  time ;   let  not  advantage  slip  .  .  .' 

'  What  were  thy  lips  the  worse  for  one  poor  kiss  ?  .  .  .' 

The  seductive  yet  pernicious  doctrine  of  '  natural '  love — 

Love,  free  as  air,  at  sight  of  human  ties, 
Spreads  his  light  wings,  and,  in  a  moment,  flies— 

is  more  or  less  deliberately  supported  by  many  of  our  present-day 
writers,  some  of  them  being  of  great  repute  amongst  us  ;  but  a  greater 
than  these  was  Shakespeare.  Greater  also  than  these  was  that  other 
large-browed  Elizabethan,  and  him  I  will  quote  first — 

4  Being  one,  why  should  not  a  man  be  content  with  one  ? ' 
'As  soul  and  body  are  one,  so  man  and  wife.' 
'Wanton  love  corrupted!  and  debaseth  it  (mankind).' 

Now  let  us  hear  the  kindred  words  of  Shakespeare,  who,  as  is  most 
meet  and  intelligible,  frequently  produces  or  reproduces  the  wisdom 


of  Francis  Bacon,  and  as  frequently  refines  it  and  adorns  ;  so  here,  in 
the  reply  of  Adonis — 

And  again — 

I  hate  not  love,  but  your  device  in  love, 
That  lends  embracements  unto  every  stranger. 

Call  it  not  love,  for  Love  to  heaven  is  fled, 
Since  sweating  Lust  on  earth  usurp'd  his  name. 

There  is  more — much  more — to  the  same  purpose,  but  I  must 
pass  on  to  the  other  poem,  the  Lucrece.  In  this  also  by  far  the  most 
important  of  the  reflections  insist  upon  the  contrast  between  love  and 
lust ;  to  quote  under  this  head  would  be  to  repeat  almost  half  the  poem. 
Here  again  is  no  work  of  Marlowe ;  to  him  it  would  be  utterly  impos 
sible  ;  it  is  the  refined  spirit  of  Spenser,  or  again  (though  Spenser  was 
less  fettered  by  dogma)  of  Milton.  As  far  as  I  am  aware,  the  most 
striking  feature  of  the  poem  has  not  hitherto  been  recognized ;  it  is  this  : 
even  as  the  palace  of  Lucrece  is  strewn  by  the  author  with  Elizabethan 
rushes,  so  the  pagan  theme  is  saturated  with  Elizabethan  Christianity. 
With  this  Christianity  the  poet  is  profoundly  imbued,  and  fearlessly  and 
naturally  he  expounds  it.  In  fact,  whatever  of  Christian  doctrine  or 
dogma  is  wanting  in  the  Sonnets  will  be  found  here,  and  found  in  an 
extraordinary  overplus.  Even  in  regard  to  demonology,  wherein  the 
poet  would  naturally  be  on  his  strictest  guard,  the  Roman  Jove  is  out- 
rivalled  by  the  Christian  Jehovah. 

In  this  short  essay,  illustration  of  every  point — indeed,  of  any  but 
a  very  few  points — is  impossible.  I  will  note  here,  however,  that  the 
'  high  almighty  Jove '  (cf .  Milton's '  all-judging  Jove ')  invoked  by  Lucrece 
is  not  easily  identified  with  '  him  who  gave '  Tarquin  his  sword  where 
with  to  *  kill  iniquity  * ;  and  that  when  Tarquin  falls  to  reflecting  on 
the  futility  of  praying  to  the  *  eternal  power  '  for  success  in  such  an 
enterprise,  and  adds,  '  The  powers  to  whom  I  pray  abhor  this  fact/  one 
can  hardly  believe  that  the  reference  is  to  any  of  '  the  gods  that  Romans 
bow  before ' ;  especially  seeing  that  a  line  or  two  later  the  poet  concludes 
with  this  fragment  of  Christian  doctrine  : 

The  blackest  sin  is  cleared  with  absolution. 

In  all  this  we  are  at  least  reminded  of  Bacon's  *  taking  Pluto  for  the 
Devil '. 

This,  however,  shall  be  a  matter  of  opinion ;  but  I  should  like  to 
quote  from  one  of  the  less  equivocal  passages  (and  there  are  hundreds 



such),  chiefly  because  it  throws  strong  light  on  one  of  the  most  important 
of  the  Sonnets,  namely,  the  cxLVith.    The  following  is  a  part  of  it : 

Besides,  his  soul's  fair  temple  is  defaced  .  .  . 

And  the  soul  speaks  for  herself,  as  follows  : 

She  says,  her  subjects  with  foul  insurrection 
Have  batter'd  down  her  consecrated  wall, 
And  by  their  mortal  fault  brought  in  subjection 
Her  immortality,  and  made  her  thrall 
To  living  death  and  pain  perpetual  .  .  .' 

Among  the  many  points  of  comparison  between  the  whole  passage 
(11.  712-28)  and  the  Sonnet,  perhaps  the  most  interesting  is  the  poet's 
employment  of  both  the  scriptural  doctrines  in  regard  to  our  human 
body ;  in  the  Sonnet  it  is  the  *  vile  body  *  that  shall  be  *  destroyed  by 
worms  ' ;  for  there  the  poet  is  speaking — and  with  a  conscientious 
modesty — of  himself  ;  but  in  the  poem  he  gives  us  the  other  biblical 
doctrine  (only  adumbrated  in  the  Sonnet)  which  speaks  of  the  body  as 
a  *  temple ',  and  *  holy ',  whether  as  the  temple  of  the  Deity  or  of  the 
Holy  Ghost  or  as  the  mansion  of  the  divine-human  spirit.  The  figure 
occurs  again  in  Lucrece  (1. 1173) : 

Her  sacred  temple  spotted,  spoil'd,  corrupted; 

and  indeed  the  whole  passage  (11.  1163-76)  in  which  this  line  is  found 
should  be  read  by  the  side  of  the  former.  Notable,  for  example,  among 
so  much  that  is  noteworthy,  is  the  expression  (of  the  soul)  *  the  other 
made  divine  '  (1.  1164). 

Here,  though  incomplete,  I  must  leave  my  textual  investigation 
of  the  two  poems,  and  turn  to  another  important  subject. 

It  might  be  urged  that  these  Christian  reflections,  although  they 
occur  in  such  a  remarkable  excess,  arise  out  of  the  subject ;  that  they 
belong  to  art,  and  have  no  relation  to  practical  life.  But  the  fallacy  may 
be  met  in  a  thousand  ways.  'All  beauty ',  we  reply,  *  is  related  to  life, 
and  therefore  also  to  morality.  Next,  a  true  artist  is  a  man,  not  a  machine, 
and  as  a  man  his  speech  bewrayeth  him ;  whether  he  will  or  will  not, 
you  shall  know  him  by  his  deeds,  his  emotions,  his  very  thoughts ;  aye, 
and  that  intimately.  Nor  do  these  reflections  arise  out  of  the  subject ; 
on  the  contrary,  they  are  foreign  to  it.  You  will  not  find  them  in  the 
pages  of  Ovid  ;  you  would  not  have  found  them,  we  repeat,  in  the  pages 
of  Marlowe.  They  are  peculiar  to  Shakespeare,  to  Spenser,  Sidney, 



Raleigh — that  is,  to  the  spiritually-minded  Elizabethan.  Religious 
opinions,  I  may  add,  like  political  opinions,  are  an  obsession  that  may 
even  imperil  the  creations  of  the  artist/ 

But  for  a  moment  I  will  abandon  whatever  isolated  evidence  may  be 
afforded  by  these  two  poems,  and  bring  in  a  wider  argument.  It  is  the 
main  argument  of  the  book  referred  to  above — Shakespeare :  the  Man 
and  his  Work — namely  this,  that  we  must  judge  Shakespeare  only  by  what 
is  habitual,  only  by  prevailing  tendencies.  If  I  were  asked  to  mention 
the  most  persistent  of  the  various  elements  of  Shakespeare's  moral 
philosophy,  I  should  reply  unhesitatingly,  *  this  contrast  between  love 
and  lust '.  His  doctrine  may  be  thus  stated  :  *  Unlawful  passion  is  a 
vice,  a  torture,  and  loathsome,  and  it  goes  by  the  name  of  lust ;  whereas 
lawful  passion  is  a  virtue,  a  delight,  and  beautiful,  and  it  goes  by  the 
name  of  love.*  This  doctrine  is  traceable  throughout  his  writings. 
We  have  begun  with  his  early  poems  ;  if  we  pass  on  to  the  Sonnets, 
there  also  we  have  it  in  abundance,  sometimes  with  a  tinge  of  con 
vention  and  dejected  admission,  as  in  Sonnet  cxxix,  but  far  more 
frequently  as  the  expression  of  an  emotion  almost  startling  in  its  sin 
cerity — 

I  do  betray 
My  nobler  part  to  my  gross  body's  treason ; 

this  repentant  cry,  moreover,  is  nobly  supported  by  the  stern  and 
spiritual  resolve  of  the  cxLVith  Sonnet  above  mentioned,  which,  likely 
enough,  is  an  epilogue  to  the  whole  Sonnet  series. 

Next  we  follow  the  doctrine  through  the  long  series  of  plays  till  we 
reach  Measure  for  Measure.  Here  we  are  aware  of  an  astonishing  culmi 
nation  of  antitheta  due  to  long  pondering  on  the  subject.  We  see  these 
antitheta  thrown,  as  it  were,  into  the  scales  of  a  vast  weighing-machine. 
Awestruck  we  watch  the  slow  successive  balancings,  but  the  scale  that 
falls  at  last,  and  falls  heavily,  is  on  the  side  of  the  angels.  From  this  point 
onward  we  have  no  more  of  convention  (and  we  never  had  much),  no 
more  of  dejected  doubt,  no  more  even  of  antitheta  ;  henceforth  all  is 
the  plain  speaking  of  a  plain  conviction. 

Into  the  heaven-reflecting  lake  of  The  Tempest  are  poured  the  various 
streams  of  Shakespeare's  noble  and  most  spiritual  philosophy.  Therein 
are  mingled  the  rarer  action  of  virtue,  the  old  piety  that  lived  each  day 
as  if  the  last,  the  old  simple  faith  in  *  Providence  divine  ',  and  the  newer 
faith  in  a  human  brotherhood.  There  also  are  the  education  that  en 
nobles,  the  civilization  that  works  only  by  uplifting,  and,  as  I  venture 
to  believe,  the  finer  knowledge  that  bears  flower  of  reverence  and  fruit 


of  wisdom.  Thither  more  certainly  flow  the  vital  streams  of  conscience, 
free  will,  repentance,  forgiveness,  charity,  and  almost  every  other  moral 
faculty  and  aspiration.  But  the  stream  whose  course  I  have  traced  so 
imperfectly  brings  perhaps  the  most  important  tribute  ;  for  the  play  of 
The  Tempest  appears  to  concern  itself  chiefly  with  the  beauty,  ecstasy, 
and  sanctity  of  a  pure  love  consummated  by  marriage.  Not  alone  to 
*  holy  wedlock  *  (as  he  styles  it  in  Lucrece)  does  the  poet  pay  this  last 
tribute  of  his  spiritual  genius  ;  significantly  he  pleads  the  wholesome 
discipline  of  courtship,  and  the  yet  more  imperative  need  of  pre-nuptial 
purity ;  and  he  concludes  by  uttering  what  is  perhaps  the  plainest  and 
sternest  of  all  his  moral  denunciations,  for  on  unmarried  love,  he  tells  us — 

No  sweet  aspersion  shall  the  heavens  let  fall  .  .  . 

but  barren  hate, 

Sour-eyed  disdain  and  discord  shall  bestrew 
The  union  of  your  bed  with  weeds  so  loathly 
That  you  shall  hate  it  both.  (The  Tempest,  IV.  i.  18-23.) 

'  Parts  *,  says  Dr.  Johnson,  *  are  not  to  be  examined  till  the  whole 
has  been  surveyed  ' ;  and  the  light  I  have  endeavoured  to  throw  on  the 
two  poems  of  Shakespeare  is  now  seen  to  be  a  collective  radiance,  the 
radiance  of  a  moral  philosophy  whose  elements  differ  only  as  one  star 
differeth  from  another  star  in  glory. 





LET  it  be  reasserted  with  fervency  to-day  that  there  is  no  limit 
to  the  possibilities  of  fresh  interpretation  of  Shakespeare.  Recent 
advance  in  psychology  extends  the  horizon.  But  every  subtle  inter 
pretation  will  be  met  by  the  facile  retort  that  it  would  have  surprised 
Shakespeare  to  hear  of  meanings  attributed  to  him.  For  popular 
criticism  has  not  time  to  comprehend  the  truth  that  the  supreme  poet 
remains  unaware  of  the  full  significance  of  his  utterance.  An  old  truth 
even  in  the  days  of  Plato,  it  is  implicitly  assented  to,  inasmuch  as  refer 
ence  to  poetic  *  inspiration '  is  a  commonplace.  The  perfect  poem  is 
felt  to  have,  instead  of  the  inchoateness  or  formlessness  of  everyday 
self-expression,  the  harmony,  unity,  life  of  Nature's  works.  She 
being  the  producer  of  life  and  perfect  form — she,  and  not  man's 
conscious  will — the  poetry  is  therefore  felt  to  be  inspired  by  her. 

Indeed,  if  we  grant  the  poet's  right  to  the  title  of  creator,  what  is  it 
to  declare,  after  Plato,  that  he  does  not  know  the  full  significance  of 
his  utterance,  but  to  declare  that  he  is  not  a  God  ?  But  there  is  no 
other  truth  so  rich  in  implication  and  consequence  as  this,  that  man 
was  made  in  the  image  of  God.  Wherefore  Shakespeare,  moulding  with 
creative  energy  the  dust  of  chaotic  experience,  makes  of  it  cosmos  and 
breathes  into  it  life.  And  because  Life  is  infinite,  there  is  no  terminus 
to  the  Shakespeare  student's  voyage  of  research. 

But  every  one  is  in  too  great  a  hurry ;  and  we  must  train  ourselves 
in  meditation.  In  the  words  of  Hamlet  to  the  Ghost — 

Haste  me  to  know  it,  that  I  with  wings  as  swift 
As  meditation  .  .  .  may  sweep  to  my  revenge — 

there  will  be  heard  some  day,  by  all  who  have  understanding,  the 
laughter  of  the  supreme  master  of  irony,  causing  the  hero,  in  the  very 
words  with  which  he  expresses  the  readiness  of  his  will,  to  express 
unawares  his  impotence.  Could  Hamlet  have  thought  of  wings  swifter 


than  meditation,  it  might  have  better  availed  him.  But  if  we  be  called, 
not  to  the  swoop  of  revenge,  as  he  was,  but  to  the  study  of  the  deepest 
mind  yet  found  among  men,  then  the  leisure  of  those  brooding  wings, 
and  not  the  hawk's  flight  of  journalism,  is  what  we  shall  need. 

Milton,  feeling  that  there  were  unplumbed  depths  in  Shakespeare, 
expressed  in  fantastic  words  of  homage  his  sense  of  the  need  of  unhurried 
meditation  : 

Thou,  our  fancy  of  itself  bereaving, 

Dost  make  us  marble  with  too  much  conceiving. 

If  we  have  inherited  Milton's  feeling,  then  the  real  advance  in 
psychology  in  our  days  may  mean  for  us  an  increased  measure  of  in 
sight.  Criticism  remains  rich  in  heart-stirring  possibilities  of  romantic 




NOT  indeed  in  the  theatrical  sense  of  *  as  ' — indeed  one  of  the 
innumerable  legends  assigns  him  quite  a  different  part  in  the  play  :  nor 
referring  to  one  of  his  own  most  delightful  creations  at  all.  But  it  was 
said  once  of  a  writer — great  in  his  own  way,  though  the  word  *  great 
ness  *  can  hardly  be  used  in  the  same  sense  (even  with  change  of  degree) 
of  him  and  of  Shakespeare — that  he  *  was  a  touchstone  :  for  he  in 
variably  displeased  all  fools '. 

The  difference  of  the  greatness,  however,  appears  in  this  very 
limitation.  It  is  much  in  a  man's  favour  that  he  should  displease  fools  ; 
but  merely  arousing  their  displeasure  does  not  necessarily  imply  any 
very  wonderful  or  multifarious  greatness  in  himself :  certainly  it  does 
not  imply  any  infinite  quality.  Nor  is  it  perhaps  true  that  Shakespeare 
displeases  all  fools,  though  it  may  be  more  arguable  that  all  whom  he 
does  displease  deserve  the  classification. 

The  way  in  which  he  shows  his  touchstoneship  is  much  more  subtle 
and  has  much  more  of  that  uncanny  infinity  which  is  not  improperly 
ascribed  to  him.  He  may  not  displease  all  fools  :  some  fools  may 
indeed  be — or  may  think  themselves — very  proud  of  him,  and  admire 
him — or  think  they  admire  him — highly.  But  he  has  a  terrible  and 
unerring  power  of  disclosing  folly  in  those  who  talk  of  him,  be  they 
admirers  or  decriers.  It  may  be  said,  *  But  is  not  this  the  case  with 
every  subject  of  long  and  varied  discussion  ? '  To  some  extent  perhaps, 
and  to  a  greater  no  doubt,  the  longer  and  the  more  varied  the  discussion 
has  been.  For  in  such  cases  there  is  an  ever-growing  temptation  either 
to  platitude  simple  or,  still  worse,  to  *  platitude  reversed  ' — to  paradox, 
laborious  innovation,  affected  heresy  and  the  like,  all  of  which  are  among 
the  worst  forms  of  folly. 

Yet  it  is  difficult  to  remember  any  other  subject,  even  among  those 
that  have,  at  one  or  more  times,  been  absolutely  fashionable — and 
where  there  is  fashion  there  is  nearly  always  folly — which  has  had  quite 
this  dread  power.  The  Man  in  the  Iron  Mask,  Junius,  '  Was  Pope 
a  poet  ?  V  Was  Queen  Mary  guilty  ? ' — great  store  of  folly  has  no  doubt 


been  evolved  by  the  application  of  all  these  tests  to  fit  persons  ;  but  they 
were  not  infallible  as  such.  Shakespeare  is. 

He  is  indeed  not  only  infallible  directly  in  discovering  folly  in  the 
persons  who  talk  about  him  ;  he  has  the  doubly  uncanny  faculty  of 
exercising  a  sort  of  secondary  assay.  Rymer  in  the  early  days,  and 
Riimelin  in  later  ones,  succumb  to  his  power  in  denouncing  him  ;  and 
then  other  persons,  defending  or  excusing  Riimelin  or  Rymer,  exhibit 
the  fatal  signs  as  a  sort  of  contagion,  though  they  may  themselves  be 
apparently  sound  on  the  main  Shakespearian  question.  Not  the  cups 
and  mirrors  of  eastern  and  western  Romance,  which  revealed  a  lady's 
weakness  or  a  knight's  treachery,  had  this  daemonic  power  of  transferred 
detection.  Yet,  on  the  other  hand,  the  equity  of  its  operation  can  be 
illustrated  by  the  example  of  Ernest  Hello.  Nobody  has  abused  Shake 
speare  more ;  but  nobody,  even  in  praising  him,  has  shown  less  folly.  The 
premisses  were  wrong ;  the  standpoint  out  of  range  or  focus  ;  the  glasses 
coloured  and  bevelled  unduly  ;  so  that  the  judgement  must  be  reversed 
or  disallowed.  But  there  has  been  no  folly  in  this  judge,  and  he  need 
not  be  written  down  what  so  many  judges  have  to  be  written  down. 

Still  the  case  is  parlous  ;  and  it  is  said  that  some  persons,  pusillani 
mous  it  may  be  but  not  wholly  foolish,  have  actually  declined  to  write 
books  about  Shakespeare,  and  have  made  special  intercession  for  them 
selves  before  committing  smaller  risks  about  him  to  paper.  As  one 
looks  over  the  three  hundred  years  during  which  there  has  been 
possibility  of  Shakespeare  discussion,  the  procession  of  *  touched  ' 
and  discovered  folly  is  great  and  rather  terrible,  if  sometimes  also  very 
amusing.  Dry  den  himself,  emerging  unstained  and  triumphant  in  the 
best  of  his  utterances,  fails,  as  is  too  well  known,  in  at  least  one  instance — 
bears  a  spot  on  the  otherwise  untarnished  surface.  Of  Rymer 's  abuse 
no  more  need  be  said  ;  indeed,  it  is  almost  too  amusing  to  be  really 
abusive,  and  it  is  rather  surprising  that  no  one  has  recently  taken  the 
line  that  it  was  '  only  his  fun ' — a  willing  sacrifice  at  the  altar  of  the 
Comic  Spirit,  as  they  would  perhaps  call  it.  Poor  Shad  well's  patronage 
has  something  of  the  same  quality  of  amusement,  but  remains,  alas  ! 
unparadoxable  as  an  evidence  of  folly.  Except  Johnson  (from  whom 
Folly  fled  invariably  even  when  he  was  most  prejudiced  and  most 
wrong-premissed)  and  Maurice  Morgann  (from  whom  Queen  Whims 
drove  her  poor  relation  Folly  off),  almost  all  eighteenth-century  critics, 
well  deserving  as  they  may  be  of  the  excuses  or  defences  which  have 
been  recently  made  for  them,  betray  the  spot  which  the  touchstone  has 
made.  Since  Coleridge  (though  not  in  him)  the  occasional  foolish  faces 


of  praise  have  been  mingled  with  the  crowd  of  those  of  blame — though 
of  course  the  latter  have  been  the  more  numerous,  while  in  a  large 
number  of  cases  it  has  not  been  necessary  that  the  voluntary  victim 
should  take  a  side  either  in  admiration  or  depreciation.  On  one  of 
these  sides  there  are  the  good  folks  who  are  sure  that  Shakespeare  was 
disgusted  by  all  his  naughty  characters  ;  those  who  try  to  make  him  out 
a  partisan  of  their  own  views  in  politics,  religion,  and  what  not ;  those 
who  are  quite  sure  that  he  not  only  *  could  be '  but  always  was  *  very 
serious  ' — who  accordingly  make  elaborate  apologetic  explanations  for 
things  like  the  gallery-stuffing  of  the  early  plays,  or  even  extenuate 
themselves  in  one  sense  at  extenuating  him  in  another,  and  trying  to 
prove  that  passages,  scenes,  and  even  whole  plays  which  they  do  not  like 
are  not  his;  with  others  of  various  amiably  foolish  kinds.  On  the 
opposite  side — the  side  of  repudiation — it  is  needless,  and  would  indeed 
be  impossible,  to  enumerate  the  various  divisions  and  corps  of  the 
armies  of  Doubters  and  Bloodmen  who  attack  our  Mansoul.  From  the 
champions  of  the  Unities  to  contemporaries  who  question  whether 
Shakespeare  has  always  attended  properly  to  that  *  conflict '  which,  it 
seems,  is  as  necessary  to  a  drama  as  a  brown  tree  once  was  to  a  picture — 
one  knows  them  all.  Of  Baconians  and  other  enemies  of  '  the  Strat- 
forder  '  who  need  talk  ? — do  they  not  one  and  all  bear  on  their  arms  the 
badge  of  Moria  ?  And  so  of  the  rest. 

But  it  is  of  the  middle  division,  glanced  at  above,  that  the  writer 
of  this  modest  contribution  has  been  chiefly  thinking.  Although  a  man 
may  be  quite  free  from  theories  of  what  drama  ought  to  be  and  not  in 
the  least  convinced  that  Shakespeare  was  written  by  Taylor  the  Water- 
poet — still  there  are  innumerable  instances  showing  that  when  he  takes 
up  the  study  of  the  bard,  the  hood  of  Chaucer's  contemporaries  and  the 
nightcap  of  Pope's  becomes,  in  some  hideous  fashion,  metamorphosed 
into  another  kind  of  headgear.  It  does  not  apparently  matter  much 
what  his  special  line  of  investigation  may  be.  Forty  years  ago,  as  some 
may  directly  remember  and  as  others  must  have  learnt  from  history,  the 
prevailing  craze  was  that  of  cutting  up  the  plays,  or  some  of  them,  into 
little  stars  and  attributing  these  to  Shakespeare's  predecessor-contem 
poraries  who  must,  according  to  such  theories,  have  composed  on  the 
principle  prevailing  in  '  places  where  they  sing  ' — the  parts  of  speeches 
being  parcelled  out  like  the  phrasing  of  an  anthem.  But  this  game  has, 
to  some  extent,  been  played  out  as  regards  Shakespeare,  and  has  passed 
to  other  dramatists.  Beaumont  and  Fletcher  have  already  suffered 
much  from  it ;  and  those  who  live  long  enough  will  probably  see 


passages  of  Goff  bestowed  upon  Nabbes,  and  unrecognized  fragments 
of  Robert  Davenport  discovered  in  the  plays  of  Lodowick  Carlell. 
For  some  time  the  exercises  in  which  Wisdom  no  doubt  sometimes 
displays  more  or  less  of  herself,  but  where  Folly  is  often  visible  at  full 
length,  have  been  for  the  most  part  transformed  to  the  interpretation 
of  plot  and  character — certainly  a  spacious  field  enough,  and  one  on  and 
about  which  one  might  hunt  long  and  merrily  on  the  chance  of  dis 
covering  Wisdom,  and  in  the  certainty  of  meeting  with  Folly.  But  this  is 
no  place  for  particular  records  of  the  various  gems.  Were  such  a  survey 
undertaken  it  would  certainly  confirm  the  general  theory  advanced 
in  this  paper — that  for  a  Touchstone  of  Folly  there  is  nothing  like 
Shakespeare — ignoble  as  may  at  first  seem  to  be  the  use  to  which  we 
put  our  greatest. 

And  yet,  as  has  indeed  been  already  hinted  to  the  intelligent, 
though  the  use  may  be  ignoble,  the  fact  is  very  much  the  reverse.  For 
it  is  only  a  function  or  special  administration  of  that  gift  of  universality 
which  the  first  great  critic  of  Shakespeare  hit  upon  as  his  main  charac 
teristic,  and  which  all  great  critics  of  him  (except  one  or  two  who  have 
been  deflected  from  the  true  way  by  some  malign  obstacle  or  influence) 
have  recognized  since.  For  the  universal,  of  its  very  nature  and  defini 
tion,  cannot  be  limited  even  to  the  enormous  range  of  Shakespeare's 
actual  utterances.  It  must  include,  or,  to  use  a  more  exact  word,  extend 
to,  not  merely  everything  that  he  touches  but  everything  that  touches 
him.  He  brings  out  the  qualities  of  a  foolish  critic  of  his  plays,  just 
as  he  does  those  of  a  foolish  personage  in  them — and  poor  Rymer, 
again,  in  the  seventeenth  century — let  us  not  be  so  ill  mannered  as  to 
specify  anybody  in  the  twentieth — has,  like  Shallow  or  Simple,  to  present 
himself  as  he  is.  Of  course,  the  touchstone  character  is  not  limited  to 
folly.  It  extends  to  wisdom  as  well,  and  we  should  not  have  known  the 
full  intellectual  power  of  Coleridge,  or  the  full  appreciative  power  of 
Hazlitt,  if  it  had  not  been  for  Shakespeare.  Of  course,  likewise,  as  some 
clever  one  may  say,  this  accounts  for  the  foolish  things  that  may  have 
been  said  in  this  very  paper.  There  is  no  possibility  of  denying  it — 
supposing  that  there  have  been  any.  But  the  fact  would  establish  the 
theory  if  it  were  not  wholly  complimentary  to  the  theorizer.  And  base 
is  the  slave  who  would  not  prefer  the  establishment  of  his  doctrine  to 
the  gratification  of  his  personality. 



Lady  Day,  1916. 

J.  M.  ROBERTSON  141 


ONE  of  the  finest  of  all  the  essays  written  upon  Shakespeare,  that  of 
Charles  Lamb  on  the  Tragedies,  is  hardly  ever  cited  or  discussed,  so  far 
as  I  have  observed,  among  Shakespearians.  The  reason,  I  think,  is  that 
men  are  unwilling  either  to  accept  its  thesis  or  to  deny  it — a  very  good 
reason,  perhaps,  for  leaving  a  question  alone.  '  It  may  seem  a  paradox/ 
writes  Lamb,  *  but  I  cannot  help  being  of  opinion  that  the  plays  of 
Shakespeare  are  less  calculated  for  performance  on  a  stage  than  those 
of  almost  any  other  dramatist  whatever.  Their  distinguishing  excellence 
is  a  reason  that  they  should  be  so.  There  is  so  much  in  them  which 
comes  not  under  the  province  of  acting,  with  which  eye  and  tone  and 
gesture  have  nothing  to  do.' 

Lamb  of  course  should  not  have  said  :  '  It  may  seem  a  paradox,  but ' 
— he  was  propounding  a  paradox  in  the  proper  sense  of  the  word,  as 
Shakespeare  used  it,  that  is  to  say,  a  proposition  that  seems  false,  but  is 
true.  And  though  the  proposition  is  likely  to  be  spontaneously  resisted 
by  many,  as  it  naturally  was  by  Irving,  no  one,  so  far  as  I  know,  has  ever 
sought  to  confute  it  save  by  way  of  simple  denial  and  contrary  assevera 
tion,  a  process  from  which  Lamb's  analysis  escapes  untouched. 

There  is  indeed  just  enough  of  suggestion  in  Lamb's  essay  of 
*  paradox  '  in  the  popular  and  perverted  force  of  the  term,  enough  of 
the  mood  that  flouts  a  truism  or  a  convention  for  the  flouting 's  sake, 
to  give  it  so  much  of  that  aspect  and  literary  status  as  serves  to  keep  it 
out  of  the  arena  of  serious  critical  debate.  The  initial  motive  of  indigna 
tion  at  the  epitaph  which  ranked  Garrick  as  kindred  in  mind  with 
Shakespeare  was  of  a  kind  which  often  enough  served  Lamb  for  *  para- 
doxing  '  in  the  received  sense  ;  and  his  handling  of  the  old  play  of 
George  Barnwell,  with  its  '  trifling  peccadillo,  a  murder  of  an  uncle  or  so  ', 
might  very  well  keep  up  the  confusion  for  readers  not  inclined  to  face 
the  problem.  And,  lover  as  he  was  of  the  great  art  of  acting,  in  which 
no  man  took  more  delight  than  he,  he  yet  permitted  himself  to  write 
as  if  he  saw  in  it  nothing  but  the  personal  demerits  of  its  practitioners. 


But  he  was  perfectly  serious  about  his  main  thesis  ;  and,  so  far  as  his 
broad  statement  goes,  he  was  perfectly  right.  He  truly  stated  what,  on 
the  analogy  of  the  *  Paradox  of  Acting  ',  as  put  by  Diderot,  we  may 
properly  term  the  Paradox  of  Shakespeare. 

A  glimpse  of  its  truth  must  instantly  come  to  any  one  who  muses 
thoughtfully  on  the  significance  of  the  fact  that  the  whole  intellectual 
world  is  to-day  commemorating,  in  the  midst  of  the  most  tremendous 
war  in  all  history,  a  theatre-poet  of  three  hundred  years  ago  who  made 
his  living,  and  a  modest  competence,  as  an  actor  and  a  playwright, 
a  *  public  entertainer '  working  on  a  commercial  basis.  What  has  availed 
to  make  him  thus  immortal,  as  immortality  goes  in  the  modern  world  ? 
Other  men  of  that  era,  Luther  and  Copernicus,  Rabelais  and  Montaigne, 
the  great  artists  and  poets  of  Italy,  have  had  a  still  longer  run  of  fame, 
with  security  for  its  continuance,  on  more  or  less  obvious  grounds. 
Protestants  revere  Luther  ;  all  educated  men  salute  Copernicus  ;  the 
writers,  poets,  and  artists  are  esteemed  as  such.  But  Shakespeare,  who 
of  all  writers  wins  the  widest  tribute,  is  not  extolled  primarily  or  essen 
tially  as  a  writer  of  plays.  Most  of  us  have  never  seen  half  his  plays 
staged,  and  our  posterity  is  probably  likely  to  see  still  less  of  them. 
Manifestly,  it  is  by  his  readers  that  Shakespeare  is  pedestalled  :  he  who 
wrote  for  the  stage  finds  immortality  in  the  study,  like  classics  in  general. 

Lamb's  main  thesis  is  that  Shakespeare's  work  has  a  spiritual  or 
intellectual  content  which  of  necessity  eludes  representation  ;  that  the 
presentment  obtrudes  a  multitude  of  details  which  positively  shut  out 
for  us  the  greatest  thought-impressions  that  the  plays  can  make  ; 
and  that  Hamlet  or  Othello  on  the  stage  is  psychically  for  us  a  different 
being  from  the  spirit  revealed  to  us  by  the  reading.  *  This  was 
sometimes  a  paradox,  but  now  the  time  gives  it  proof.'  It  is  the  tacit 
testimony  of  all  students,  of  all  who  have  really  lived  with  Shakespeare. 
Lamb,  of  course,  should  have  added  that  the  stage  can  never  give  us  the 
continuous  impalpable  inner  music  of  the  verse,  the  thrill  of  rhythm 
which  fuses  with  our  sense  of  the  words,  the  ideas,  the  character,  the 
problem.  A  faithful  rendering  of  the  verse  as  verse,  sometimes  demanded 
by  critics  from  actors,  would  probably  hinder  instead  of  furthering  the 
mimetic  effect,  the  air  of  reality  necessarily  sought  by  the  player  : 
Irving,  who  knew  his  business  on  that  side,  used  to  make  his  superior 
effect  of  actuality  as  against  his  colleagues  by  positively  disregarding 
verse  measure.  Verse  is  an  *  ideal  '  medium  for  dramatic  dialogue, 
representing  not  life,  not  mimesis,  but  verbal  art :  the  *  nature  '  to  which 
it  holds  up  the  mirror  is  not  *  practic  '  but  *  theoric  ' :  its  world  is 

J.  M.  ROBERTSON  143 

subjective,  not  objective.    The  player  in  Hamlet  might  have  suggested 
to  the  critic-Prince  that  it  is  '  from  the  purpose  of  playing '. 

We  seem  to  come,  then,  to  what  looks  like  a  paradox  in  the  popular 
meaning,  a  mere  extravagance,  flouting  common-sense  ;  to  wit,  the 
verdict  that  the  admittedly  greatest  of  all  dramatists  was  not  rightly  or 
essentially  a  dramatist  but  something  else  ;  and  that  the  end  at  which 
he  certainly  aimed  throughout  his  life  is  not  the  end  which  he  best 
achieves.  Yet  so  it  is  :  this  is  the  true  paradox. 

The  main  fact  is  substantiated,  for  one  thing,  by  the  growing 
infrequency  and  the  experimental  character  of  the  stage  representations. 
Germans  boast,  and  sometimes  thereby  disconcert  the  ingenuous 
Briton,  that  among  them  Shakespeare  is  much  more  played  than  among 
us.  But  that  fact,  so  far  from  proving  a  higher  appreciation  of  Shake 
speare  in  Germany  than  here,  is  really  a  proof  to  the  contrary.  Germans 
run  Shakespeare  on  the  stage  as  they  run  their  State  ideal,  in  the  spirit 
of  idolatry  or  convention- worship,  not  as  a  matter  of  independent 
critical  judgement.  They  have  been  drilled  and  told  what  to  admire, 
as  they  have  been  drilled  and  told  what  to  think,  to  say,  and  to  do. 
People  who  suppose  they  can  get  Shakespeare  on  the  stage,  in  transla 
tion,  as  they  can  get  him  in  the  book,  in  his  own  tongue,  are  bowing  to 
a  convention,  not  to  the  reality,  which  is  subjective.  The  cultured 
Englishman  knows  this,  with  or  without  the  help  of  Lamb  :  the  average 
German  does  not.  Shakespeare  is  to-day  more  widely  read  in  his  own 
tongue  than  ever,  and  this  will  continue  while  his  plays  are  staged  less 
and  less. 

Perhaps  we  shall  better  realize  the  truth  of  the  paradox  if  we  note 
some  of  the  exceptions  suggested  by  Lamb's  *  almost '.  Shakespeare's 
dramas,  clearly,  are  not  less  '  calculated '  for  performance  on  a  stage 
than  those  of  Marlowe,  who,  though  not  properly  an  epic  poet,  as  is 
suggested  by  Professor  Schroer  of  Freiburg,  is,  especially  in  his  earlier 
plays,  much  less  of  a  stage  poet  than  our  master.  Tamburlaine,  as  poetry 
and  as  primitive  psychic  creation,  is  to-day  simply  unplayable  ;  but 
Faustus  and  Barabas,  in  their  different  ways,  are  also  irreducible  to  the 
plane  of  the  theatre.  Marlowe,  in  a  word,  had  in  his  simpler  '  elemental ' 
fashion  charged  these  creations  with  a  conceptual  content  which  eludes 
the  stage,  the  poetry  and  the  character-concept  being  alike  extraneous 
to  the  mechanism  of  representation.  And  even  when  he  devotes  himself 
to  quasi-realism,  the  law  of  the  poetic  drama  holds  good  for  his  work. 
If  Professor  Schroer  had  perceived,  as  editors  are  now  beginning  to 
do,  that  Fleay  was  right  in  pronouncing  Richard  the  Third  a  creation  of 


Marlowe,  he  would  have  altered  his  proposition :  Richard  is  the  result 
of  a  steady  progress  towards  dramatic  as  distinct  from  poetic  construc 
tion.  But,  as  Lamb  expressly  contends,  Richard  in  his  degree  also 
transcends  drama  proper.  The  intellectual  monster,  the  poetic  villain, 
like  the  poetic  hero,  exists  as  an  idea  behind  the  enacted  man. 

Shakespeare,  then,  with  his  far  more  various  and  profounder  gifts, 
and  with  his  far  greater  measure  of  practical  judgement  in  combination 
with  these,  did  but  fulfil  in  his  far  truer  and  greater  ideal  world 
the  destiny  of  the  poet  turned  dramatist.  Endowed  with  the  most 
consummate  faculty  of  sympathy  and  comprehension,  he  was  made  a 
dramatist  by  his  vocation,  to  his  and  our  unspeakable  profit ;  for  there 
is  nothing  in  his  two  long  poems  to  suggest  that,  poet  as  he  was,  he  could 
ever  have  '  found  himself  '  save  in  the  dramatic  form.  And  the  evolu 
tion  of  the  plays  tells  of  an  original  bias  to  the  poetic,  the  discursive, 
which  only  the  needs  and  pressures  of  the  stage  could  reduce  to  dramatic 
service.  In  Love's  Labour 's  Lost  and  the  Midsummer  Night's  Dream 
we  have  poetic  extravaganzas  rather  than  plays  :  the  early  Comedies  of 
action  are  presumptively  recasts  of  older  work  ;  and  King  John,  written 
after  an  old  model,  is  poetic,  discursive,  eloquent,  to  the  limit  of  the 
theatre's  acceptance.  It  is  only  after  a  dozen  years  of  stage  experience 
that  we  get  Othello,  with  its  intense  compression ;  and  in  Othello,  with 
all  its  lightning-like  effects  of  action,  the  sheer  idealism  of  the  con 
ception,  as  Lamb  maintained,  outgoes  the  process  on  the  stage. 

But  there  is  another  side  to  the  problem.  The  tragedies  of  Jonson, 
assuredly,  are  not  '  calculated '  for  representation ;  and  here  we  have 
the  express  evidence  of  theatrical  history,  as  it  were  in  defiance  of  Lamb's 
thesis,  that  in  the  Stuart  days  audiences  delighted  in  Shakespeare  who 
turned  away  from  '  tedious  but  well-laboured  Catiline  '.  Jonson,  in 
tragedy,  missed  his  end  on  the  stage  without  attaining  another  in  the 
study  ;  for  in  his  case  even  great  rhetoric  has  failed  to  attain  that  some 
thing  more  than  drama  which  is  the  secret  of  the  dominion  of  Shake 
speare.  With  all  his  strength,  he  had  neither  the  elemental  creative 
force  of  Marlowe  nor  the  all-comprehending  sympathy  of  Shakespeare  : 
he  is  but  the  doctrinaire  of  poetic  tragedy.  There  has  never  been  a 
Jonson  club,  I  think,  since  Jonson 's  generation,  when  his  personality 
*  made  a  school '  for  him.  For  posterity,  his  work  lacks  magic. 

But  already  we  are  faced  by  the  qualification  which  must  be  placed 
on  Lamb's  paradox.  The  stage  vogue  of  Shakespeare  tells  that  not  only 
was  his  sheer  stage-craft  the  best  of  his  age,  but  something  in  his  work 
conquered  that  age,  even  on  the  boards.  It  can  hardly  be  that  actors 

J.  M.  ROBERTSON  145 

then  were  subtler  than  now :  it  must  have  been  that  his  vision  of  life, 
his  high-poised  sanity  and  his  imaginative  reach,  forced  themselves 
on  a  generation  accustomed  to  poetic  drama,  though  the  later  vogue  of 
the  hectic  tragedy  of  Beaumont  and  Fletcher  indicates  the  critical  limits 
of  the  popular  culture.  And  since  that  day,  down  to  our  own,  some 
thing  of  the  overtones  and  undertones  of  Shakespeare's  incomparable 
speech,  something  of  his  larger  message,  must  have  touched  the  more 
impressible  even  of  the  audiences,  for  many  of  whom  the  sensations  of  the 
ghosts  and  the  fencing  in  Hamlet  and  Macbeth  were  the  capital  items. 

And  in  the  comedies,  too,  though  Lamb  claimed  that  he  could 
prove  his  case  for  these  as  for  the  tragedies  if  he  would,  the  play  of  fun 
and  feeling,  the  unserious  poetry,  so  much  nearer  the  plane  of  the  actual, 
must  have  meant  some  seizure  of  Shakespeare's  charm.    As  You  Like  It 
is  not  a  world  of  *  cloudy  companionship '  and  hovering  reverie  ;   and 
to  witness  it  is  to  be  in  the  poet's  sunshine,  though  the  stage  lets  slip 
through  its  fingers  the  music  and  the  moonlit  poetry  of  Belmont,  to 
say  nothing  of  the  wonder-world  of  The  Tempest.    But  thus  still  the 
paradox  holds  :  the  Shakespeare  of  the  stage  is  in  the  main  but  the  inte 
gument  in  which  the  greatest  of  dramatic  poets  infused  his  utmost  art 
of  rhythmic  speech  and  of  brooding  sympathy  with  the  fates  of  men. 
Wellnigh  all  his  plots  came  to  him  as  vehicles  tested  by  theatrical 
success  in  other  hands  ;  and  to  them  he  committed  his  invisible  freight 
of  poetry  and  thought,  the  infinite  dream  of  his  imagination.     The 
paradox  of  Shakespeare,  in  short,  is  that  of  the  master-poet  led  by 
economic  destiny  to  the  work  in  which  alone,  to  an  end  he  could  not 
have  foreseen,  his  poetic  power  could  attain  its  supremest  possibilities, 
that  task  which,  if  economically  free,  he  would  probably  not  have  chosen, 
of  being  the  poetic  mouthpiece  of  a  world  of  imagined  men  and  women. 
Becoming  a  theatre-poet  to  make  his  livelihood,  he  builded  better  than 
he  can  possibly  have  known.    And  thus,  perhaps,  his  paradox  is  finally 
just  the  paradox  of  all  genius  that  reaches  consummation. 





DEATH— 1916 

Come  the  three  corners  of  the  world  in  arms, 

And  we  shall  shock  them.     Nought  shall  make  us  rue, 

If  England  to  itself  do  rest  but  true. 

King  John,  Act  V,  Sc.  vii. 

CALM  at  the  height  of  Danger's  darkest  hour, 

With  hearts  enduring,  hands  outstretched  to  save 

That  civil  world  the  foe  would  fain  devour, 

The  whelming  rush  of  barbarous  hosts  we  brave  ; 

And,  trusting  to  the  safe,  well-guarded  wave, 
Confront  the  battle.     Mighty  is  the  power 
Of  Freedom,  Britain's  heirloom,  sacred  dower, 

By  Flanders'  blood  secured,  and  Suvla's  grave  1 

But  yet  a  stronger  talisman  we  own, 

A  nobler  Unity  our  souls  confess, 
Felt  in  each  Briton's  heart  ev'n  while  unsung, 

Alike  in  torrid  air  and  frozen  zone ; 
A  free-born  Empire's  patriot  consciousness, 

Tuned  to  the  music  of  our  Shakespeare's  tongue. 

W.  J.  COURTHOPE  147 

The  same,  loosely  paraphrased  in  Italian. 

Nel  mezzo  di  periglio  Talma  forte 

Rinforzo  stende  ed  ospitalitate 

Dair  Anglia  alle  genti  abbandonate, 
Che  vuol  vorar  di  Prusia  il  crudel  corte  ; 
Dove,  gP  eredi  d'una  degna  sorte, 

Fidiamo  noi  air  onde  ben  guardate, 

E  voi  T  area  nostra  sicurate, 
Col  sangue,  Flandra,  e,  Suvla,  colla  morte. 
Vi  resta  a  noi  piu  forte  talismano, 

Deir  unita  che  splende  al  mondo  intero, 
Che  quando  pure  senza  rime  vanta 

L'  Inglese,  ed  il  Dominio  di  lontano ; 
La  conscienza  libera  d*  Impero : 

Fra  noi  ella  nacque,  ed  il  Shakespeare  la  canta. 


L  2 



I  SEE  them  peopled,  as  he  weaves  the  spell, 

Verona,  Padua,  Venice, — a  new  crown 

Of  honour  added  to  their  old  renown  : 

But  if  his  own  eyes  saw  them  none  may  tell. 

No  trivial  spirit  of  his  ampler  days 

Revealed  the  poet's  secret,  which  is  well. 

He  is  exempt  from  question  or  dispraise, 

And  time  has  left  us  but  the  miracle. 

We  may  not  know  if  ever  he  came  here, 

Whose  intuitions  baffle  and  transcend 

Our  knowledge,  and  begin  where  we  must  end  ; 

But  I  would  dream  it,  and  such  dreams  are  dear, 

Since  all  the  sun,  the  magic,  and  the  mirth 

Are  in  his  words,  *  that  pleasant  country's  earth.' 




To  be  invited  to  join  in  a  tribute  to  the  memory  of  Shakespeare  is 
to  receive  an  embarrassing  and  perilous  honour.  Let  me  try  to  escape 
some  at  least  of  its  dangers  by  avoiding  the  impertinence  of  any  direct 
words  about  his  genius,  and  trying  rather  to  give  an  indirect  proof  of 
its  transcendent  working  as  seen  in  a  case  in  which  it  has,  I  think,  as  it 
were,  over-reached  itself. 

Falstaff  is  admittedly  Shakespeare's  greatest  humorous  creation  and 
perhaps  the  greatest  purely  humorous  figure  in  the  literature  of  the 
world.  Now  it  is  an  invariable  characteristic  of  humour  that  to  a  greater 
or  less  extent  it  dissolves  morality.  In  so  far  as  the  humour  of  a  humor 
ous  person  takes  possession  of  us  we  do  not  notice,  or  at  least  do  not 
condemn,  his  vices.  This  is  so  in  our  view  of  actual  historical  characters. 
The  drunkenness  of  Charles  Lamb,  the  conjugal  infidelities  of  La 
Fontaine,  are  not  judged  as  they  would  be  judged  if  we  were  not  entirely 
preoccupied  with  our  delight  in  their  humour  and  with  the  affection 
which  flows  out  to  people  who  give  us  that  delight.  And  the  same  thing 
is  still  more  noticeable  in  the  case  of  fictitious  characters.  We  ought 
to  think  of  Mrs.  Gamp  as  an  abominable  old  woman,  dirty,  drunken, 
heartless.  But  in  fact  we  never  think  anything  of  the  sort.  Indeed  we 
do  not  think  at  all :  if  we  did  we  might  be  forced  to  think  hard  things  of 
the  old  sinner,  but  she  takes  good  care  to  keep  us  better  occupied. 
Whenever  she  is  present,  we  take  our  ease  in  our  inn,  drinking  with 
greedy  delight  of  her  inexhaustible  fountain,  far  too  happy  to  remember 
anything  graver  than  our  happiness. 

Falstaff  is,  of  course, an  incomparably  greater  figure  than  Mrs.  Gamp, 
and  naturally  the  effect  he  produces  is  still  more  remarkable.  Nobody 
exactly  likes  Mrs.  Gamp  :  we  all  love  Falstaff.  Why  ?  Not  only  because 
Falstaff  is  greater  than  Mrs.  Gamp,  but  because  she  is  a  figure  which  we 
see  in  the  street  and  he  is  a  figure  we  find  in  the  looking-glass.  It  is 
a  magnifying  glass,  no  doubt,  but  still  what  it  shows  us  is  ourselves. 
Ourselves,  not  as  we  are,  but  as  we  can  fancy  we  might  have  been  ; 


expanded,  exalted,  extended  in  every  direction  of  bodily  life,  all  the 
breadth  and  depth  and  height  of  it.  Not  a  man  of  us  but  is  conscious 
in  himself  of  some  seed  that  might  have  grown  into  Falstaff 's  joyous  and 
victorious  pleasure  in  the  life  of  the  senses.  There,  we  feel,  but  for  the 
grace  of  God,  and  but  for  our  own  inherent  weakness  and  stupidity,  go 
we :  just  as  in  Hamlet  we  feel  our  own  glorified  selves  in  another  way, 
dreaming,  hesitating,  self-questioning,  only  that  it  is  all  raised  a  thou 
sandfold  in  quantity  and  quality,  and  that  Hamlet,  like  Falstaff,  can  give 
free  and  glorious  form  and  utterance  to  what  in  us  is  only  incoherent  and 
inarticulate  chaos.  So  in  both  we  love  ourselves,  as  indeed  it  is  always 
some  kinship  with  ourselves  that  we  love  in  others.  That  is  the  truth 
behind  the  homo  sum,  humani  nihil  alienum  of  Terence  and  behind 
greater  sayings  than  Terence  ever  uttered.  But  in  Falstaff  we  love 
a  quality  that  has  always  been  found  peculiarly  human  and  lovable. 
What  delights  us  in  him  is  not  merely  the  sense  of  an  infinite  freedom 
that  he  gives  us,  the  escape  into  a  world  in  which  the  police  and  the  Ten 
Commandments  are  not  only  impotent,  but  ridiculous,  and  in  which  the 
spirit,  as  it  were,  of  the  body  is  as  free  from  the  constraint  of  the  soul,  as 
in  Shelley's  poetry  the  spirit  of  the  soul  is  free  from  the  constraint  of  the 
body.  All  this  exalts  us  and  gives  us  joy.  But  what  specially  wins  our 
love  is  something  else.  It  is  that  Falstaff,  at  his  most  triumphant  times, 
is  triumphant  at  his  own  expense.  If  he  did  not  know  that  he  was 
a  gross  tun  of  flesh,  a  drunkard,  a  coward,  and  a  liar  we  should  know 
it  much  more  and  love  him  much  less.  Here,  as  in  religion,  the  way 
of  confession  is  the  way  of  forgiveness.  And  forgiving  is  very  near 
loving.  So  when  we  hear  La  Fontaine  laughing  at  his  own  follies  and 
confessing  his  own  sins,  we  not  only  forgive  him,  we  love  him.  Perhaps 
he  is  the  only  French  poet  for  whom  we  have  exactly  that  indulgent 
affection,  because  no  other  has  anything  like  so  much  of  what  we  think 
the  supreme  element  of  humour,  that  which  induces  a  man  to  laugh 
freely  at  himself ;  a  quality  which  has  been  much  more  English  than 
French,  as  wit,  which  is  akin  to  satire  and  mostly  exercised  at  the  expense 
of  other  people,  has  been  more  brilliant  in  France  than  in  England. 

Well,  of  course  Falstaff  is  peculiarly  rich  in  this  crowning  gift. 
1  Thou  seest  I  have  more  flesh  than  another  man  ;  and  therefore  more 
frailty.'  '  I  do  here  walk  before  thee  like  a  sow  that  hath  overwhelmed 
all  her  litter  but  one/  '  A  goodly  portly  man,  i'  faith,  and  a  corpulent ; 
of  a  cheerful  look,  a  pleasing  eye,  and  a  most  noble  carriage  .  .  .  and 
now  I  remember  me,  his  name  is  Falstaff :  if  that  man  should  be  lewdly 
given,  he  deceiveth  me  ;  for,  Harry,  I  see  virtue  in  his  looks.'  It  is 


everywhere,  of  course,  in  both  the  plays.  And  probably  it  is  this 
supreme  quality  that,  added  on  to  all  the  rest,  has  given  Falstaff  the 
unique  distinction  which  Shakespeare  never  meant  him  to  have. 

It  is  the  triumph  of  Mrs.  Gamp  and  her  like,  as  we  were  saying  just 
now,  to  suspend  the  action  of  the  moral  judgement.  And  if  of  Mrs. 
Gamp,  of  course  a  hundred  times  more  of  Falstaff.  But  Falstaff  has 
a  glory  which  he  shares  with  no  one  else.  If  other  humorous  creations 
suspend  judgement,  he  can  do  much  more.  He  can  victoriously  reverse 
it.  His  humorous  confession  of  his  sins  so  disarms  and  delights  us, 
that  he  has  positively  persuaded  more  than  one  subtle  person  to  deny 
their  existence  altogether.  Maurice  Morgann  in  the  eighteenth  century 
was  his  first  conquest.  Others  have  followed,  the  most  significant  being 
the  finest  of  living  Shakespearean  critics,  Mr.  A.  C.  Bradley,  who  sub 
stantially  agrees  with  Morgann  that  Falstaff  was  not  a  coward,  and  adds 
that  he  was  not  a  liar  either,  in  the  ordinary  sense  of  that  word. 

My  object  now  is  not  to  discuss  this  theory  in  detail,  which  would 
require  far  more  space  than  I  can  ask  for  here.  It  is  rather  to  draw 
attention  to  the  proof  it  affords  of  Shakespeare's  amazing  power,  even 
when  exercised,  as  it  were,  to  his  own  defeat.  He  has  so  flooded  Fal 
staff  with  the  dazzling  light  of  his  genius  that  some  of  those  among  his 
critics  who  are  most  able  to  bear  and  enjoy  such  light,  have  been  blinded 
by  it  to  the  other  and  grosser  elements  in  Falstaff  which  to  duller  eyes 
are  plain  and  indubitable.  For  that  the  theory  is  a  complete  mistake  is, 
I  venture  to  think,  certain,  for  two  broad  reasons  which  almost  render 
unnecessary  the  detailed  discussion  of  the  evidence  of  the  text.  This 
last  is  admittedly  not  all  on  one  side  of  the  argument,  though  even  here 
the  preponderance  seems  to  me  considerable.  But  details  discovered 
in  the  closet  can  never  be  an  answer  to  the  broad  effect  made  upon  the 
stage.  No  man  ever  understood  the  theatre  better  than  Shakespeare. 
It  is  certain  that  all  the  large  and  general  impressions  his  characters  make 
upon  the  stage  can  only  be  the  impressions  which  he  intended  them  to 
make.  Now  what  that  impression  has  always  been  in  the  case  of  Fal 
staff  is  not  doubtful.  The  audience  has  throughout  regarded  him  as 
a  coward  and  a  liar,  and  Shakespeare  must  have  known  that  it  would  and 
meant  that  it  should.  To  attempt  to  reverse  this  impression  on  the 
strength  of  little-noticed  inconsistencies,  such  as  the  surrender  of  Sir 
John  Colevile,  is  as  hopeless  a  business  as  the  similar  attempt  to  make 
of  Shy  lock  a  sympathetic  figure,  because  Shakespeare  made  him  a  human 
being  instead  of  a  stage  Jew.  Shakespeare  wrote  for  the  pit,  not  for  the 
critics  :  and  though  the  critics  are  always  adding  to  our  wonder  and 


delight  by  discovering  things  which,  unperceived  by  the  pit,  were 
consciously  or  unconsciously  in  the  poet's  mind,  yet  on  these  broad 
issues  the  continuous  verdict  of  the  pit  is  final. 

There  is  another  general  consideration  which  seems  to  me  equally 
fatal  to  the  view  taken  by  Morgann  and  his  successors.  Is  there  not — 
I  suggest  it  with  great  hesitation — some  lack  of  humour  in  suggesting 
that  Falstaff  was  not  a  coward  and  a  liar  ?  What  is  left  of  the  humour  of 
the  great  scene  at  the  Boar's  Head  if  *  A  plague  of  all  cowards,  I  say  '  is 
to  come  from  a  brave  man's  mouth  ?  And  where  is  the  humour  of 
*  Lord,  Lord,  how  this  world  is  given  to  lying ',  if  the  speaker  be  as 
truthful  as  the  Duke  of  Wellington  ?  What  is  left  of  the  humour  of  the 
Prince's  chaff  *  I  lack  some  of  thy  instinct '  if  all  the  audience  does  not 
know  that  Falstaff  is  what  the  Prince  elsewhere  calls  him  *  a  natural 
coward  without  instinct '  ?  And  where  is  the  fun  of  the  whole  refutation 
-'  Mark  now  how  a  plain  tale  shall  put  you  down  ' — if  Falstaff  had  not 
intended  and  expected  to  pass  himself  off  as  the  hero  of  the  affair  ?  That 
is  not  the  language  in  which  a  man  replies  to  a  joke  ;  and  if  Falstaff  did 
not  intend  to  be  believed  why,  I  wonder,  did  he  hack  his  sword  to  make 
it  evidence  ?  Mr.  Bradley  thinks  it  absurd  to  suppose  that  he  would 
have  made  the  mistake  about  declaring  the  men  were  '  in  Kendal  green  ' 
just  after  asserting  that  it  was  so  dark  that  he  could  not  see  his  hand. 
Has  Mr.  Bradley  never  been  in  a  police  court  ?  Every  day  there  gives 
proof  of  how  difficult  it  is  to  tell  a  lie  without  at  the  same  time  providing 
its  refutation  ?  Certainly  no  small  part  of  the  humour  of  the  scene  lies 
in  Falstaff 's  glorious  escape  from  the  refutation  of  his  story.  But  to 
suppose  that  the  whole  scene  is  a  kind  of  make-believe,  that  he  did  not 
expect  to  be  believed,  and  they  did  not  intend  to  put  him  to  shame, 
seems  to  me  to  destroy  half  the  delight  of  his  victorious  escape,  which 
we  enjoy  and  admire  precisely  because  it  seemed  so  inevitable  that  he 
would  be  reduced  to  confusion  by  the  Prince's  exposure. 

No,  Mr.  Bradley  and  those  who  agree  with  him  are  simply  the 
strongest  evidence  of  the  amazing  magic  of  Shakespeare's  creation.  The 
true  explanation  of  their  delusion  is  akin  to  that  which  Mr.  Bradley 
himself  so  ingeniously  and  convincingly  offers  of  the  puzzling  scene  of 
the  rejection  of  Falstaff.  That  scene  is  unpleasant,  which  is  certainly 
not  what  Shakespeare  meant  it  to  be.  He  must  have  intended  us  to 
think  Henry's  conduct  natural  and  to  sympathize  with  it.  But  we  do 
not.  And  the  reason  must  be,  in  Mr.  Bradley's  words,  that  Shakespeare 


had  *  created  so  extraordinary  a  being  and  fixed  him  so  firmly  on  his 
intellectual  throne  that  when  he  sought  to  dethrone  him  he  could  not '. 
So  with  those  who  are  blind  to  FalstafPs  lying  and  cowardice.  Shake 
speare  has  shown  them  such  a  light  that  they  can  see  nothing  else,  not 
even  what  he  meant  them  to  see.  He  has  given  them  such  delight  that 
they  will  not  admit  the  reality  of  anything  that  might  detract  from  it. 
He  has  created  a  being  so  overflowing  with  an  inexhaustible  fountain  of 
life  and  humanity  that  they  love  him  and  enter  into  him  and  become 
themselves  so  much  a  part  of  him  that  they  are  ready  to  explain  away  his 
vices  as  we  all  explain  away  our  own.  So  far  Shakespeare  has  overshot 
his  own  mark.  Not  on  the  stage,  nor  with  the  plain  man.  There  the 
liar  and  coward  will  always  be  as  visible  as  the  genius.  But  for  men  of 
more  than  ordinary  susceptibility  to  intellectual  pleasure  Shakespeare 
has  in  Falstaff  provided  a  too  intoxicating  banquet.  They  find  in 
Falstaff  a  man  to  whom  lying  with  genius  was  simply  a  natural  and 
pleasurable  activity  of  his  nature,  who  lies  with  glorious  delight  and 
commonly  with  triumphant  success,  who  is  himself  supremely  happy 
when  he  lies  and  makes  all  who  hear  or  read  him  supremely  happy  too. 
They  find  that  when  they  are  with  him  they  are  in  Heaven,  which  is 
a  place  where  acts  are  their  own  ends,  and  they  will  not  admit  that  he 
runs  away,  except  for  the  pleasure  of  it,  or  lies,  except  as  an  artist, 
delighting  in  doing  what  he  knows  he  can  do  as  no  other  man  can,  and 
without  any  ulterior  object  of  profit  or  reward.  So  with  such  men,  and 
so  far,  Shakespeare  fails,  with  this  glorious  failure.  Their  judgements 
are  drowned  in  a  flood  of  intellectual  delight. 




IT  has  long  been  recognized  that  the  epithalamic  ending  of  A 
Midsummer  Night's  Dream  points  to  performance  at  a  wedding,  and  that 
the  compliment  to  the  *  fair  vestal  throned  by  the  west '  points  to  a 
wedding  at  which  Queen  Elizabeth  was  present.  The  most  plausible 
date  hitherto  suggested  is  January  26,  1595,  on  which  William  Stanley, 
Earl  of  Derby,  married  the  Lady  Elizabeth  Vere,  daughter  of  the  Earl 
of  Oxford,  granddaughter  of  William,  Lord  Burghley,  and  goddaughter 
and  maid  of  honour  to  the  queen.  This  would  fit  in  well  enough  with 
the  allusions  in  the  play  to  the  bad  weather  of  1594,  and  to  the  lion  at 
the  baptism  of  Prince  Henry  of  Scotland  on  August  30  of  the  same  year  ; 
while  the  presence  of  Elizabeth  has  been  inferred  from  the  words  of 
Stowe,  who  says  that  *  The  26  of  January  William  Earl  of  Derby 
married  the  Earl  of  Oxford 's  daughter  at  the  court  then  at  Greenwich, 
which  marriage  feast  was  there  most  royally  kept '.  I  have  long  been 
puzzled  by  the  statement  that  the  wedding  was  *  at  the  court ' ;  not  so 
much  because  the  Treasurer  of  the  Chamber  made  no  payment  for 
a  court  play  on  January  26,  1595,  since  the  performance  might  have  been 
ordered,  not  by  the  queen,  but  by  the  friends  of  the  bride  or  bridegroom, 
as  because  the  wedding  itself  does  not  appear  in  the  list  of  those 
solemnized  in  the  royal  chapel  and  closet  which  is  preserved  in  the  so- 
called  '  Cheque-Book '  of  the  Chapel  (ed.  E.  F.  Rimbault,  160),  and 
I  have  now  good  reason  to  think  that  Stowe  made  a  mistake  on  this  point, 
for  in  the  accounts  of  the  churchwardens  of  St.  Martin's,  Westminster 
(ed.  J.  V.  Kitto,  471),  I  find  for  the  year  1595  the  following  entry  : 

Item  paid  the  xxxth  of  January  for  ringinge  At  her  Maties  Comynge  to  y*  Lord 
Threasurers  to  y6  Earle  of  Darbies  weddinge  And  at  her  Departure  from  thence  y*  fyrst 
of  ffebruary  ij1. 

The  court  appears,  indeed,  to  have  been  established  at  Greenwich 
from  the  middle  of  December,  1594,  to  the  middle  of  February  1595. 
But  it  was  not  uncommon  for  Elizabeth,  especially  in  her  somewhat 



restless  old  age,  to  leave  the  court  for  a  day  or  two's  sojourn  with  some 
favoured  courtier  in  London  or  the  neighbouring  villages  ;  and  it  was 
evidently  upon  such  an  occasion  that  she  did  honour  to  the  nuptials  of 
Elizabeth  Vere  at  Burghley  House  in  the  Strand.  There  is  no  entry 
of  the  marriage  in  the  registers  of  St.  Martin's  or  of  St.  Clement  Danes, 
in  which  parishes  Burghley  House  stood,  and  I  think  it  is  probable  that 
it  took  place  in  the  chapel  of  the  Savoy,  hard  by,  the  registers  of  which 
are  lost,  for  a  contemporary  record  of  another  wedding,  a  few  years  later, 
tells  us  (H.M.C.y  Rutland  MSS.  i.  379) : 

The  feast  was  held  here  at  Burghley  howse.  Mrs  bryde  with  her  hayre  hanging-  downe 
was  led  betwen  two  yong  bachelors  from  Burghley  Howse  thorough  the  streete,  strawed, 
to  the  Savoy  gate  against  my  lodging,  and  so  to  that  church. 

I  do  not  think  that  it  is  necessary,  on  the  strength  of  the  St.  Martin's 
entry,  to  reject  Stowe's  date  as  well  as  his  locality.  The  bell-ringings 
for  Elizabeth's  removals  are  often  entered  with  only  approximate 
accuracy,  possibly  because  the  churchwardens  recorded  the  dates  of 
the  payments  rather  than  those  of  the  services  rendered.  And  Stowe's 
January  26  can  in  fact  be  confirmed  from  another  source.  On  January 
27  Anthony  Bacon  wrote  from  London  to  Francis  Bacon  at  Twickenham, 
telling  him  that  Antonio  Perez  had  highly  commended  the  queen's 
grace  and  the  royal  magnificence  of  some  court  solemnity  then  on  hand 
(T.  Birch,  Elizabeth,  i.  199),  and  this  crossed  a  letter  of  the  same  date 
from  Francis  to  Anthony  (Spedding,  Life  and  Letters,  i.  353),  in  which 
he  said : 

I  hope  by  this  time  Antonio  Perez  hath  seen  the  Queen  dance  (that  is  not  it,  but  her 
disposition  of  body  to  be  fresh  and  good  I  pray  God  both  subjects  and  strangers  may  long 
be  witnesses  of).  I  would  be  sorry  the  bride  and  bridegroom  should  be  as  the  weather  hath 
fallen  out,  that  is  go  to  bed  fair  and  rise  lowring. 

Spedding  could  not  identify  the  bride  and  bridegroom,  but  there 
can  be  no  doubt  about  them.  Elizabeth,  of  course,  was  ready  to  dance 
on  the  edge  of  her  grave  ;  Burghley,  the  master  of  the  feast,  old  and 
gouty,  was  for  other  than  for  dancing  measures.  He  had  written  to 
Robert  Cecil  on  December  2  (T.  Wright,  Elizabeth  and  her  Times, 
ii.  440) : 

For  her  hope  to  have  me  dance,  I  must  have  a  longer  tyme  to  learn  to  go,  but 
I  will  be  ready  in  mynd  to  dance  with  my  hart,  when  I  shall  behold  her  favorable 
disposition  to  do  such  honor  to  her  mayd,  for  the  old  man's  sake. 

And  on  January  2  he  added  : 

Though  my  hand  is  unable  to  fight,  and  my  right  eye  unable  to  take  a  levell,  yet  they 
both  do  stoop  to  return  my  humble  thankes  for  continuance  of  her  favor  at  this  tyme,  when 
I  am  more  fitter  for  an  hospital,  than  to  be  a  party  for  a  marriage. 


These  notices  of  the  wedding  indicate  a  mask,  rather  than  a  play  ; 
but  the  two  would  not  be  incompatible.  The  internal  evidence  of 
A  Midsummer  Night's  Dream  does  not  take  us  much  farther.  The 
much-travelled  Theseus  might  have  been  thought  appropriate  to  William 
Stanley,  whose  own  travels  are  said  to  have  taken  him  as  far  as  the  Holy 
Land  and  Russia,  and  in  later  Lancashire  legends  grew  to  quite  mythical 
proportions.  There  is  the  famous  passage  in  which  occurs  the  compli 
ment  to  Elizabeth.  The  attempts  of  the  older  commentators  to  turn 
the  mermaid  and  the  falling  stars  and  the  little  western  flower  into  an 
allegory  of  Mary  Queen  of  Scots  and  the  northern  rebellion,  or  of  the 
intrigue  of  Leicester  with  the  Countess  of  Essex,  may  be  summarily 
disregarded.  Whatever  else  complimentary  poetry  is,  it  must  be  in  the 
first  place  gratifying  to  the  person  complimented,  and  in  the  second 
place  reasonably  topical.  The  northern  rebellion  and  Leicester's  mar 
riage  were  both  forgotten  far-off  things  in  1595,  nor  was  either  of  them 
calculated  to  give  Elizabeth  much  pleasure  in  the  retrospect.  The 
marriage  in  particular  had  caused  her  bitter  mortification  in  its  day,  and 
if  Edmund  Tilney  had  allowed  Shakespeare  to  allude  to  it  before  her, 
he  would  have  signed  his  own  warrant  for  the  Tower,  and  Shakespeare's 
for  the  Marshalsea.  What  Shakespeare  was  describing  was,  as  it  pro 
fessed  to  be,  a  water-pageant  with  fireworks.  But  again,  it  is  only  a 
want  of  historical  perspective  or  a  sentimental  desire  to  find  a  reminis 
cence  of  Shakespeare's  childhood  in  his  plays,  which  can  explain  the 
common  identification  of  this  water-pageant  with  that  given  at  Kenil- 
worth  as  far  back  as  1575.  The  princely  pleasures  of  Kenilworth  loom 
large  to  us  out  of  the  fragmentary  records  of  Elizabeth's  progresses, 
because  they  were  set  down  in  a  racy  pamphlet  at  the  time,  and  because 
Scott  used  them  as  material  for  a  novel.  But  there  were  many  such 
entertainments  both  before  and  after,  and  if  Shakespeare  had  any 
particular  one  in  mind,  it  is  far  more  likely  to  have  been  that  which  had 
occurred  comparatively  recently,  when  Elizabeth  visited  the  Earl  of 
Hertford  at  Elvetham  in  September,  1591.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  there  was 
not  a  mermaid  on  a  dolphin's  back  either  at  Kenilworth  or  at  Elvetham. 
At  Kenilworth  there  was  a  Triton  on  a  mermaid's  back,  which  is  not 
quite  the  same  thing.  There  was  the  Lady  of  the  Lake,  who  might 
perhaps  be  called  a  sea-maid.  And  there  was  Arion  on  a  dolphin's 
back,  who  sang  to  the  music  of  instruments  in  the  dolphin's  belly. 
There  were  fireworks  also,  but  apparently  not  on  the  same  day  as  the 
water-pageant.  At  Elvetham  there  was  *  a  pompous  aray  of  sea- 

E.  K.  CHAMBERS  157 

persons ',  including  Nereus,  five  Tritons,  Neptune,  and  Oceanus,  with 
*  other  sea-gods  '  and  a  train  in  *  ouglie  marine  suites  '.  They  brought 
in  Neaera,  the  '  sea-nymph/  who  sang  a  ditty.  Meanwhile  a  *  snail- 
mount  '  in  the  water  resembled  '  a  monster,  having  homes  of  wild-fire 
continuously  burning  '  ;  but  here  also  the  principal  display  of  fireworks 
was  on  another  day.  Obviously,  so  far  as  subject-matter  goes,  Elvetham 
might,  just  as  well  as  Kenilworth,  have  furnished  the  motive  for  the 
extremely  sketchy  reminiscences  of  Oberon.  It  may  be  added  that  at 
Elvetham  the  queen  of  the  fairies,  not  for  the  first  time  in  the  history  of 
Elizabethan  pageantry,  had  made  her  appearance.  She  is  called  Aureola, 
not  Titania,  but  names  the  king  as  Auberon.  It  goes  without  saying 
that  Cupid  all  armed  is  not  mentioned  in  either  account.  He  could  only 
be  seen  by  Oberon.  But  it  is  to  Cupid  and  the  wound  inflicted  by  his 
bolt  on  the  little  western  flower  that  the  whole  description  leads  up. 
The  flower  has  a  part  in  the  action  of  the  play,  and  possibly  we  ought  not 
to  seek  for  any  further  motive  for  its  introduction.  But  if  it  points,  as 
some  think,  at  an  enamoured  woman,  how  can  this  possibly  be  Lady 
Essex,  or  anybody  else  but  the  bride  in  whose  glorification,  next 
only  to  that  of  Elizabeth,  the  play  was  written  ?  I  do  not  assert  that 
William  Stanley  and  Elizabeth  Vere,  then  sixteen,  met  and  loved  at 
Elvetham  in  1591.  Indeed,  as  will  be  seen  before  the  end  of  this  article, 
I  do  not  assert  that  William  Stanley  and  Elizabeth  Vere  were  the  bride 
groom  and  bride  of  the  play  at  all.  But  Elizabeth  Vere,  as  one  of  the 
queen's  maids,  is  at  least  likely  to  have  been  there,  and  William  Stanley, 
who  was  coming  and  going  in  1589  and  1590  between  London  and  his 
father's  houses  in  the  north  (Stanley  Papers,  ii.  66,  78,  82),  may  quite 
well  have  been  there  too.  Elizabeth  Vere's  marriage  had  been  one  of  the 
preoccupations  of  Lord  Burghley,  who  had  evidently  taken  over  the 
responsibilities  of  her  fantastic  father,  the  Earl  of  Oxford,  for  some 
years  before  1595.  Early  in  1591  the  Earl  of  Bedford  was  spoken  of 
(S.  P.  Dom.  Eliz.  ccxxxviii.  69),  but  it  came  to  nothing,  and  Bedford 
married  '  the  Muses'  evening,  as  their  morning,  star/  Lucy  Harrington. 
About  1592  Burghley  had  been  making  suit  for  the  Earl  of  Northumber 
land,  *  but  my  Lady  Veare  hath  answered  her  grandfather  that  she  can  not 
fancye  him  '  (H.  M.  C.,  Rutland  MSS.  i.  300).  William  Stanley  was  at 
this  time  only  an  undistinguished  younger  son,  and  Burghley,  perhaps 
the  greatest  of  our  civil  servants,  had  the  civil  servant's  not  uncommon 
foible  for  founding  a  dynasty.  It  was  in  1594  that  the  deaths  in  rapid 
succession  of  his  father  and  his  elder  brother  left  Stanley  the  most 
eligible  match  in  England. 


Philostrate  offers  as  a  wedding  device  the  '  satire  keen  and  critical ', 


The  thrice  three  Muses  mourning1  for  the  death 
Of  Learning,  late  deceased  in  beggary. 

This  has  been  regarded  as  support  for  the  Stanley- Vere  identifica 
tion,  on  the  ground  that  Spenser's  Tears  of  the  Muses  was  dedicated  in 
1591  to  Lady  Strange,  the  wife  of  Stanley's  brother  and  predecessor 
in  the  title.  I  have  used  the  argument  myself,  but  I  now  doubt  its 
validity.  It  is  not  at  all  clear  that  this  lady  would  have  been  at  the 
wedding.  There  was  bitter  feud  in  1595  between  her  and  her  brother- 
in-law  over  the  succession  to  the  Derby  estates,  and  already  on  May  9, 
1594,  she  had  written  to  Burghley  (H.  M.  C.,  Hatfield  MSS.  iv.  527) : 

I  hear  of  a  motion  of  marriage  between  the  Earl,  my  brother,  and  my  Lady  Vere,  your 
niece,  but  how  true  the  news  is  I  know  not,  only  I  wish  her  a  better  husband. 

One  wonders  how  far  Lady  Derby  was  cognisant  of  the  rumours 
sedulously  spread  about  the  country  by  the  Jesuits  as  to  the  death 
of  the  late  Earl,  which  had  been  sudden,  had  suggested  suspicions 
of  poisoning  or  witchcraft,  and  had  robbed  the  Catholic  intriguers  of 
a  hoped-for  pretender.  One  version  (H.  M.  C.,  Hatfield  MSS.  v.  253) 
ascribed  a  crime  to  *  my  lord  that  now  is  '  ;  another  (S.  P.  Dom.  Eliz. 
ccxlix.  92)  to  Burghley,  in  order  that  he  might  marry  the  young  Lady 
Vere  to  the  Earl's  brother.  I  now  come  to  the  rather  curious  fact  that 
at  the  Stanley-Vere  wedding  there  actually  does  appear  to  have  been 
a  show  of  the  nine  muses,  although  it  was  not  in  the  least  concerned 
with  *  Learning,  late  deceased  in  beggary.'  This  emerges  from  a  letter 
written  by  Arthur  Throgmorton  to  Robert  Cecil  (H.  M.  C.,  Hatfield 
MSS.  v.  99).  It  is  a  curious  side-light,  not  merely  upon  the  methods, 
but  upon  some  of  the  underlying  motives  of  Elizabethan  pageantry. 

Matter  of  mirth  from  a  good  mind  can  minister  no  matter  of  malice,  both  being,  as 
I  believe,  far  from  such  sourness  (and  for  myself  I  will  answer  for  soundness.)  I  am  bold 
to  write  my  determination,  grounded  upon  grief  and  true  duty  to  the  Queen,  thankfulness 
to  my  lord  of  Derby,  (whose  honourable  brother  honoured  my  marriage)  and  to  assure  you 
I  bear  no  spleen  to  yourself.  If  I  may  I  mind  to  come  in  a  masque,  brought  in  by  the 
nine  muses,  whose  music,  I  hope,  shall  so  modify  the  easy  softened  mind  of  her  Majesty  as 
both  I  and  mine  may  find  mercy.  The  song,  the  substance  I  have  herewith  sent  you, 
myself,  whilst  the  singing,  to  lie  prostrate  at  her  Majesty's  feet  till  she  says  she  will  save 
me.  Upon  my  resurrection  the  song  shall  be  delivered  by  one  of  the  muses,  with  a  ring 
made  for  a  wedding  ring  set  round  with  diamonds,  and  with  a  ruby  like  a  heart  placed 
in  a  coronet,  with  this  inscription,  Elizabetha  potest.  I  durst  not  do  this  before  I  had 
acquainted  you  herewith,  understanding  her  Majesty  had  appointed  the  masquers,  which 

E.  K.  CHAMBERS  159 

resolution  hath  made  me  the  unreadier :  yet,  if  this  night  I  may  know  her  Majesty's  leave 
and  your  liking,  I  hope  not  to  come  too  late,  though  the  time  be  short  for  such  a  show  and 
my  preparations  posted  for  such  a  presence.  I  desire  to  come  in  before  the  other  masque, 
for  I  am  sorrowful  and  solemn,  and  my  stay  shall  not  be  long.  I  rest  upon  your  resolution, 
which  must  be  for  this  business  to-night  or  not  at  all. 

The  letter  is  only  endorsed  *  Jan.  1594,'  but  the  reference  to  Lord 
Derby  serves  to  relate  it.  Arthur  Throgmorton  of  Paulerspury  was 
brother  of  Elizabeth  Throgmorton,  who  married  Sir  Walter  Raleigh. 
But  he  can  hardly  have  been  wishing  in  1595  to  purge  the  offence  given 
by  his  sister  in  1592,  and  of  his  own  marriage  I  only  know  that  it  was  to 
Anne,  daughter  of  Sir  John  Lucas  of  Essex  (Bridges,  Northamptonshire, 
i.  312).  Nor  can  one  quite  see  why  he  should  have  intruded  his  private 
affairs  upon  Derby's  festival. 

This  note  is  growing  upon  my  hands  into  a  dissertation.  I  must 
refrain  from  discussing  the  troubled  early  married  life  of  the  Stanleys, 
which  justified  Bacon's  fear  that  they  might  *  go  to  bed  fair  and  rise 
lowring ',  rather  than  Oberon's  benediction  of  *  the  best  bride-bed  ' ;  or 
the  later  connexion  of  the  earl  with  a  company  of  players,  which  led 
a  quite  competent  archivist  to  the  astounding  discovery  that  he,  another 
W.  S.,  was  the  real  author  of  Shakespeare's  plays.  But  I  am  afraid 
I  must  add  that  I  am  by  no  means  convinced  that  A  Midsummer  Night's 
Dream  was  given  on  January  26,  1595,  at  all,  although  the  plausibilities 
are  perhaps  more  in  favour  of  that  date  than  any  other.  I  should  like, 
however,  to  be  able  to  explore  more  fully  the  circumstances  of  a  wedding 
which  has  never  yet  been  considered,  that  of  Thomas,  son  of  Henry 
Lord  Berkeley,  and  Elizabeth,  daughter  of  Sir  George  Carey,  on  February 
19,  1596.  This  is  stated  in  the  latest  edition  of  G.  E.  C.'s  peerage, 
probably  on  the  evidence  of  the  unprinted  registers  of  St.  Anne's,  to 
have  taken  place  from  the  Blackfriars,  which  is  extremely  likely,  as  Sir 
George  Carey  had  his  town  house  there,  next  door  to  the  building  which 
became  Burbage's  Blackfriars  theatre.  But  I  do  not  know  that  the 
queen  was  present,  although  she  may  well  have  been,  as  Elizabeth 
Carey  was  another  of  her  goddaughters,  and  granddaughter  of  her 
first  cousin  and  Lord  Chamberlain,  Henry  Lord  Hunsdon.  The 
attractiveness  of  the  suggestion  lies  in  the  fact  that  Shakespeare's  com 
pany  were  Lord  Hunsdon 's  men,  and  subsequently  passed  under  Sir 
George  Carey's  own  patronage,  when  he  in  his  turn  became  Lord 
Hunsdon  on  his  father's  death  later  in  1596.  Lady  Carey  was  a  sister 
of  the  Lady  Strange  to  whom  The  Tears  of  the  Muses  was  dedicated. 
Sir  George  Carey  is  known  to  have  been  present  at  the  Elvetham  enter- 


tainment  of  1591,  but  it  would  hardly  be  possible  to  put  the  origin  of  the 
Berkeley-Carey  match  there,  for  it  was  only  in  1595  that  this  was 
arranged,  after  negotiations  for  Lord  Herbert,  afterwards  Earl  of  Pem 
broke,  had  fallen  through,  and  the  Berkeley  family  chronicler  definitely 
places  the  beginnings  of  affection  between  the  young  couple  in  the 
autumn  of  that  year  (Collins,  Sydney  Papers,  i.  353,  372  ;  T.  Smyth, 
Lives  of  the  Berkeley  s,  ii.  383,  395). 




ALL'S  WELL  ! — Nay,  Spirit,  was  it  well  that  she, 
Thy  clear-eyed  favourite,  the  wise,  the  rare, 
The  *  rose  of  youth ',  must  her  deep  heart  lay  bare, 

And  Helen  wait  on  Bertram's  contumely  ? 

Must  Love's  own  humble,  dauntless  devotee 
Make  Night  accomplice,  and,  a  changeling,  dare 
The  loveless  love-encounter,  and  prepare 

To  tread  the  brink  of  shame  ?   May  all  this  be, 

And  all  end  well  ? — That  Spirit,  from  his  seat 
Elysian,  seems  to  murmur  :    *  Sometimes  know, 

In  Love's  unreason  hidden,  Nature's  voice; 
In  Love's  resolve,  Her  will ;   and  though  his  feet 
Walk  by  wild  ways  precipitous,  yet,  so 

Love's  self  be  true,  Love  may  at  last  rejoice.' 





1  If  music  be  the  food  of  love,  play  on.' 

Twelfth  Night,  ACT  I,  Scene  i. 

WHAT  wilt  thou  give  me  ?  Thou  canst  give  me  naught ; 

Thou  hast  denied  the  honey  of  thy  lips, 
Thou  dared'st  not  offer  what  my  sick  heart  sought, 

Love's  full  awakening  and  apocalypse. 
If  much  thou  gav'st,  'twas  but  a  beggar's  fee  : 

Or  if  but  little,  'twas  a  winter's  smile, 
A  mockery  of  friendliness — the  while 

Thy  heart  was  set  on  dreams  more  worthy  thee. 

Half-given  and  half-withdrawn,  thy  kindness  fell 
Athwart  my  aching  and  tempestuous  need 

Like  the  lone  note  of  some  forgotten  bell, 

Which  swings  its  message  faint  across  the  mead — 

Sound  heard  in  stillness  through  the  vacant  air, 
An  echo  of  dead  passion  and  despair. 

W.  L.  COURTNEY  163 


Yet,  for  I  love  thee  so,  I  needs  must  cling 

To  the  old  haunts,  albeit  the  trees  are  bare, 
And  in  the  ruined  branches  no  birds  sing 

Mid  death  and  desolation  everywhere. 
The  shadow  of  my  presence  at  thy  door 

Thou  canst  not  banish  to  forgetfulness  : 
My  footfall  echoes  ghost-like  on  thy  floor, 

And  scarce-heard  voices  whisper  my  distress, 

Spurn  if  thou  wilt — and  still  my  patient  heart 
Is  humbler  than  the  humblest  to  adore 

Whatever  thy  fancy  scatters  from  its  store 
Of  happiness  or  grief,  content  or  smart : 

I  only  ask  a  momentary  grace — 

To  see  once  more  the  wonder  of  thy  face  ! 


M  2 



LEAR'S  Fool  stands  in  a  place  apart— a  sacred  place ;  but,  of  Shake 
speare's  other  Fools,1  Feste,  the  so-called  Clown  in  Twelfth  Night,  has 
always  lain  nearest  to  my  heart.  He  is  not,  perhaps,  more  amusing  than 
Touchstone,  to  whom  I  bow  profoundly  in  passing  ;  but  I  love  him 

Whether  Lear's  Fool  was  not  slightly  touched  in  his  wits  is  dis 
putable.  Though  Touchstone  is  both  sane  and  wise,  we  sometimes 
wonder  what  would  happen  if  he  had  to  shift  for  himself.  Here  and 
there  he  is  ridiculous  as  well  as  humorous  ;  we  laugh  at  him,  and  not 
only  with  him.  We  never  laugh  at  Feste.  He  would  not  dream  of 
marrying  Audrey.  Nobody  would  hint  that  he  was  a  '  natural '  or 
propose  to  *  steal '  him  (A.  Y.  L.  1. 1.  ii.  52,  57  ;  iii.  131).  He  is  as  sane 
as  his  mistress  ;  his  position  considered,  he  cannot  be  called  even 
eccentric,  scarcely  even  flighty ;  and  he  possesses  not  only  the  ready 
wit  required  by  his  profession,  and  an  intellectual  agility  greater  than 
it  requires,  but  also  an  insight  into  character  and  into  practical  situations 
so  swift  and  sure  that  he  seems  to  supply,  in  fuller  measure  than  any  of 
Shakespeare's  other  Fools,  the  poet's  own  comment  on  the  story.  He 
enters,  and  at  once  we  know  that  Maria's  secret  is  no  secret  to  him.  She 
warns  him  that  he  will  be  hanged  for  playing  the  truant.  *  Many  a  good 
hanging ',  he  replies,  '  prevents  a  bad  marriage  '  ;  and  if  Maria  wants 

1  I  mean  the  Fools  proper,  i.  e.  professional  jesters  attached  to  a  court  or  house.  In 
effect  they  are  but  four,  Touchstone,  Feste,  Lavache  in  All 's  Well,  and  Lear's  Fool ;  for  it 
is  not  clear  that  Trinculo  is  the  court-jester,  and  the  Clown  in  Othello,  like  the  Fool 
(a  brothel-fool)  in  Timon,  has  but  a  trivial  part.  Neither  humorists  like  Launce  and 
Launcelot  Gobbo,  nor  'low'  characters,  unintentionally  humorous,  like  the  old  peasant 
at  the  end  of  Antony  and  Cleopatra  or  the  young  shepherd  called  'clown'  in  The 
Winter's  Tale,  are  Fools  proper.  The  distinction  is  quite  clear,  but  it  tends  to  be  obscured 
for  readers  because  the  wider  designation  '  clown '  is  applied  to  persons  of  either  class  in  the 
few  lists  of  Dramatis  Personae  printed  in  the  Folio,  in  the  complete  lists  of  our  modern 
editions,  and  also,  alike  in  these  editions  and  in  the  Folio,  in  stage-directions  and  in  the 
headings  of  speeches.  Such  directions  and  headings  were  meant  for  the  actors,  and  the 
principal  comic  man  of  the  company  doubtless  played  both  Launce  and  Feste.  Feste, 
I  may  observe,  is  called  '  Clown '  in  the  stage-directions  and  speech-headings,  but  in  the 
text  always  '  Fool '.  Lear's  Fool  is  '  Fool '  even  in  the  former. 

A.  C.  BRADLEY  165 

an  instance  of  a  bad  marriage,  she  soon  gets  it :  '  Well,  go  thy  way  ; 
if  Sir  Toby  would  leave  drinking,  thou  wert  as  witty  a  piece  of  Eve's 
flesh  as  any  in  Illyria.'  (Gervinus,  on  the  contrary,  regarded  this 
marriage  as  a  judgement  on  Sir  Toby  ;  but  then  Gervinus,  though  a 
most  respectable  critic,  was  no  Fool.)  Maria  departs  and  Olivia  enters. 
Her  brother  is  dead,  and  she  wears  the  deepest  mourning  and  has 
announced  her  intention  of  going  veiled  and  weeping  her  loss  every 
day  for  seven  years.  But,  in  Feste's  view,  her  state  of  mind  would  be 
rational  only  if  she  believed  her  brother's  soul  to  be  in  hell  ;  and  he 
does  not  conceal  his  opinion.  The  Duke  comes  next,  and,  as  his  manner 
ruffles  Feste,  the  mirror  of  truth  is  held  firmly  before  him  too  :  *  Now, 
the  melancholy  god  protect  thee,  and  the  tailor  make  thy  doublet  of 
changeable  taffeta,  for  thy  mind  is  a  very  opal.'  In  these  encounters 
we  admire  the  Fool's  wisdom  the  more  because  it  makes  no  impression 
on  his  antagonists,  who  regard  it  as  mere  foolery.  And  his  occasional 
pregnant  sayings  and  phrases  meet  the  same  fate.  His  assertion  that  he 
is  the  better  for  his  foes  and  the  worse  for  his  friends  the  Duke  takes 
for  a  mere  absurdity  or  an  inadvertence  of  expression,  though  he  is 
tickled  by  Feste 's  proof  of  his  affirmation  through  double  negation.1 
The  philosopher  may  speak  to  Sebastian  of  *  this  great  lubber  the 
world  ' ;  he  may  tell  Viola  how  *  foolery,  sir,  does  walk  about  the  orb 
like  the  sun ;  it  shines  everywhere  '  ;  he  may  remark  to  the  whole 
company  how  *  the  whirligig  of  time  brings  in  his  revenges  '  ;  but 
nobody  heeds  him.  Why  should  any  one  heed  a  man  who  gets  his  living 
by  talking  nonsense,  and  who  may  be  whipped  if  he  displeases  his 
employer  ? 

All  the  agility  of  wit  and  fancy,  all  the  penetration  and  wisdom, 
which  Feste  shows  in  his  calling,  would  not  by  themselves  explain  our 
feeling  for  him.  But  his  mind  to  him  a  kingdom  is,  and  one  full  of 
such  present  joys  that  he  finds  contentment  there.  Outwardly  he  may 
be  little  better  than  a  slave  ;  but  Epictetus  was  a  slave  outright  and 
yet  absolutely  free  :  and  so  is  Feste.  That  world  of  quibbles  which 
are  pointless  to  his  audience,  of  incongruities  which  nobody  else  can  see, 

1  Feste's  statement  of  his  proot  can  hardly  be  called  lucid,  and  his  illustration 
('  conclusions  to  be  as  kisses,  if  your  four  negatives  make  your  two  affirmatives ')  seems 
to  have  cost  the  commentators  much  fruitless  labour.  If  anything  definite  was  in  the 
Fool's  mind  it  may  have  been  this.  The  gentleman  asks  for  a  kiss.  The  lady,  denying  it, 
exclaims  'No  no  no  no.'  But,  as  the  first  negative  (an  adjective)  negates  the  second 
(a  substantive),  and  the  third  in  like  manner  the  fourth,  these  four  negatives  yield  two 
enthusiastic  affirmatives,  and  the  gentleman,  thanks  to  the  power  of  logic,  gets  twice  what  he 
asked  for.  This  is  not  Feste's  only  gird  at  the  wisdom  of  the  schools.  It  has  been  gravely 
surmised  that  he  was  educated  for  the  priesthood  and,  but  for  some  escapade,  would  have 
played  Sir  Topas  in  earnest. 



of  flitting  fancies  which  he  only  cares  to  pursue,  is  his  sunny  realm. 
He  is  alone  when  he  invents  that  aphorism  of  Quinapalus  and  builds 
his  hopes  on  it ;  and  it  was  not  merely  to  get  sixpence  from  Sir  Andrew 
that  he  told  of  Pigrogromitus  and  the  Vapians  passing  the  equinoctial 
of  Queubus.  He  had  often  passed  it  in  that  company  himself.  Maria 
and  Sir  Toby  (who  do  enjoy  his  more  obvious  jests)  are  present  when, 
clothed  in  the  curate's  gown  and  beard,  he  befools  the  imprisoned 
Malvolio  so  gloriously  ;  but  the  prisoner  is  his  only  witness  when,  for 
his  own  sole  delight,  himself  as  Sir  Topas  converses  with  himself  the 
Fool.  But  for  this  inward  gaiety  he  could  never  have  joined  with  all 
his  heart  in  the  roaring  revelry  of  Sir  Toby  ;  but  he  does  not  need  this 
revelry,  and,  unlike  Sir  Toby  and  Sir  Toby's  surgeon,  he  remains 
master  of  his  senses.  Having  thus  a  world  of  his  own,  and  being  lord 
of  himself,  he  cares  little  for  Fortune.  His  mistress  may  turn  him  away  ; 
but,  *  to  be  turned  away,  let  summer  bear  it  out.1  This  *  sunshine  of 
the  breast '  is  always  with  him  and  spreads  its  radiance  over  the  whole 
scene  in  which  he  moves.  And  so  we  love  him. 

We  have  another  reason.    The  Fool's  voice  is  as  melodious  as  the 
'  sweet  content '  of  his  soul.    To  think  of  him  is  to  remember  *  Come 
away,  come  away,  Death ',  and  *  O  Mistress  mine  ',  and  *  When  that  I 
was  ',  and  fragments  of  folk-song  and  ballad,  and  a  catch  that  *  makes 
the  welkin  dance  indeed  '.    To  think  of  Twelfth  Night  is  to  think  of 
music.    It  opens  with   instrumental   music   and   ends  with  a  song. 
All  Shakespeare's  best  praise  of  music,  except  the  famous  passage  in 
The  Merchant  of  Venice,  occurs  in  it.    And  almost  all  the  music  and  the 
praise  of  music  come  from  Feste  or  have  to  do  with  Feste.    In  this  he 
stands  alone  among  Shakespeare's  Fools ;  and  that  this,  with  the  in 
fluence  it  has  on  our  feeling  for  him,  was  intended  by  the  poet,  should 
be  plain.    It  is  no  accident  that,  when  the  Duke  pays  him  for  his  *  pains  ' 
in  singing,  he  answers,  *  No  pains,  sir  ;  I  take  pleasure  in  singing,  sir  '  ; 
that  the  revelry  for  which  he  risks  punishment  is  a  revelry  of  song  ; 
that,  when  he  is  left  alone,  he  still  sings.   And,  all  this  being  so,  I  venture 
to  construe  in  the  light  of  it  what  has  seemed  strange  to  me  in  the  passage 
that  follows  the  singing  of  *  Come  away  '.    Usually,  when  Feste  receives 
his  '  gratillity ',  he  promptly  tries  to  get  it  doubled  ;   but  here  he  not 
only  abstains  from  any  such  effort  but  is  short,  if  not  disagreeably  sharp, 
with  the  Duke.   The  fact  is,  he  is  offended,  even  disgusted  ;  and  offended, 
not  as  Fool,  but  as  music-lover  and  artist.    We  others  know  what  the 
Duke  said  beforehand  of  the  song,  but  Feste  does  not  know  it.     Now  he 
sings,  and  his  soul  is  in  the  song.    Yet,  as  the  last  note  dies  away,  the 
comment  he  hears  from  this  noble  aesthete  is,  '  There  's  for  thy  pains  ' ! 

A.  C.  BRADLEY  167 

I  have  a  last  grace  to  notice  in  our  wise,  happy,  melodious  Fool. 
He  was  little  injured  by  his  calling.  He  speaks  as  he  likes  ;  but 
from  first  to  last,  whether  he  is  revelling  or  chopping  logic]  or  playing 
with  words,  and  to  whomsoever  he  speaks  or  sings,  he  keeps  his  tongue 
free  from  obscenity.  The  fact  is  in  accord  with  the  spirit  of  this 
ever-blessed  play,  which  could  not  have  endured  the  *  foul-mouthed  ' 
Fool  of  All 's  Welly  and  from  which  Aldis  Wright  in  his  school  edition 
found,  I  think,  but  three  lines  (not  the  Fool's)  to  omit.  But  the  trait  is 
none  the  less  characteristic  of  Feste,  and  we  like  him  the  better  for  it. 

It  remains  to  look  at  another  side  of  the  whole  matter.  One  is 
scarcely  sorry  for  Touchstone,  but  one  is  very  sorry  for  Feste,  and  pity, 
though  not  a  painful  pity,  heightens  our  admiration  and  deepens  our 
sympathy.  The  position  of  the  professional  jester  we  must  needs  feel 
to  be  more  or  less  hard,  if  not  of  necessity  degrading.  In  Feste 's  case 
it  is  peculiarly  hard.  He  is  perfectly  sane,  and  there  is  nothing  to  show 
that  he  is  unfit  for  independence.  In  important  respects  he  is,  more 
than  Shakespeare's  other  fools,  superior  in  mind  to  his  superiors  in 
rank.  And  he  has  no  Celia,  no  Countess,  no  Lear,  to  protect  or  love 
him.  He  had  been  Fool  to  Olivia's  father,  who  *  took  much  delight 
in  him  '  ;  but  Olivia,  though  not  unkind,  cannot  be  said  to  love  him. 
We  find  him,  on  his  first  appearance,  in  disgrace  and  (if  Maria  is  right) 
in  danger  of  being  punished  or  even  turned  away.  His  mistress,  entering, 
tells  him  that  he  is  a  dry  fool,  that  she'll  no  more  of  him,  and  (later) 
that  his  fooling  grows  old  and  people  dislike  it.  Her  displeasure,  doubt 
less,  has  a  cause,  and  it  is  transient,  but  her  words  are  none  the  less  signi 
ficant.  Feste  is  a  relic  of  the  past.  The  steward,  a  person  highly 
valued  by  his  lady,  is  Feste 's  enemy.  Though  Maria  likes  him  and, 
within  limits,  would  stand  his  friend,  there  is  no  tone  of  affection  in 
her  words  to  him,  and  certainly  none  in  those  of  any  other  person.  We 
cannot  but  feel  very  sorry  for  him. 

This  peculiar  position  explains  certain  traits  in  Feste  himself  which 
might  otherwise  diminish  our  sympathy.  One  is  that  he  himself,  though 
he  shows  no  serious  malevolence  even  to  his  enemy,  shows  no  affection 
for  any  one.  His  liking  for  Maria  does  not  amount  to  fondness.  He 
enjoys  drinking  and  singing  with  Sir  Toby,  but  despises  his  drunken 
ness  and  does  not  care  for  him.  His  attitude  to  strangers  is  decidedly 
cool,  and  he  does  not  appear  to  be  attracted  even  by  Viola.  The  fact  is, 
he  recognizes  very  clearly  that,  as  this  world  goes,  a  man  whom  nobody 
loves  must  look  out  for  himself.  Hence  (this  is  the  second  trait)  he  is 
a  shameless  beggar,  much  the  most  so  of  Shakespeare's  Fools.  He  is 
fully  justified,  and  he  begs  so  amusingly  that  we  welcome  his  begging  ; 


but  shameless  it  is.  But  he  is  laying  up  treasures  on  earth  against  the 
day  when  some  freak  of  his  own,  or  some  whim  in  his  mistress,  will 
bring  his  dismissal,  and  the  short  summer  of  his  freedom  will  be  followed 
by  the  wind  and  the  rain.  And  so,  finally,  he  is  as  careful  as  his  love  of 
fun  will  allow  to  keep  clear  of  any  really  dangerous  enterprise.  He 
must  join  in  the  revel  of  the  knights  and  the  defiance  of  the  steward  ; 
but  from  the  moment  when  Malvolio  retires  with  a  threat  to  Maria,  and 
Maria  begins  to  expound  her  plot  against  him,  Feste  keeps  silence  ; 
and,  though  she  expressly  assigns  him  a  part  in  the  conspiracy,  he  takes 
none.  The  plot  succeeds  magnificently,  and  Malvolio  is  shut  up,  chained 
as  a  lunatic,  in  a  dark  room  ;  and  that  comic  genius  Maria  has  a  new 
scheme,  which  requires  the  active  help  of  the  Fool.  But  her  words, 
*  Nay,  I  prithee,  put  on  this  gown  and  this  beard/  show  that  he  objects  ; 
and  if  his  hesitation  is  momentary,  it  is  not  merely  because  the  tempta 
tion  is  strong.  For,  after  all,  he  runs  but  little  risk,  since  Malvolio 
cannot  see  him,  and  he  is  a  master  in  the  management  of  his  voice.  And 
so,  agreeing  with  Sir  Toby's  view  that  their  sport  cannot  with  safety 
be  pursued  to  the  upshot,  after  a  while,  when  he  is  left  alone  with  the 
steward,  he  takes  steps  to  end  it  and  consents,  in  his  own  voice,  to  pro 
vide  the  lunatic  with  light,  pen,  ink,  and  paper  for  his  letter  to  Olivia. 
We  are  not  offended  by  Feste 's  eagerness  for  sixpences  and  his 
avoidance  of  risks.  By  helping  us  to  realize  the  hardness  of  his  lot,  they 
add  to  our  sympathy  and  make  us  admire  the  more  the  serenity  and 
gaiety  of  his  spirit.  And  at  the  close  of  the  play  these  feelings  reach 
their  height.  He  is  left  alone  ;  for  Lady  Belch,  no  doubt,  is  by  her 
husband's  bed-side,  and  the  thin-faced  gull  Sir  Andrew  has  vanished, 
and  the  rich  and  noble  lovers  with  all  their  attendants  have  streamed 
away  to  dream  of  the  golden  time  to  come,  without  a  thought  of  the 
poor  jester.  There  is  no  one  to  hear  him  sing  ;  but  what  does  that 
matter  ?  He  takes  pleasure  in  singing.  And  a  song  comes  into  his 
head  ;  an  old  rude  song  about  the  stages  of  man's  life,  in  each  of  which 
the  rain  rains  every  day  ;  a  song  at  once  cheerful  and  rueful,  stoical  and 
humorous  ;  and  this  suits  his  mood  and  he  sings  it.  But,  since  he  is 
even  more  of  a  philosopher  than  the  author  of  the  song,  and  since,  after 
all,  he  is  not  merely  a  Fool  but  the  actor  who  is  playing  that  part  in  a 
theatre,  he  adds  at  the  end  a  stanza  of  his  own  : 

A  great  while  ago  the  world  begun, 

With  hey,  ho,  the  wind  and  the  rain; 
But  that's  all  one,  our  play  is  done, 
And  we'll  strive  to  please  you  every  day.1 

1  Those  who  witnessed,  some   years  ago,  Mr.  Granville   Barker's    production  of 

A.  C.  BRADLEY  169 

Shakespeare  himself,  I  feel  sure,  added  that  stanza  to  the  old  song  ; 
and  when  he  came  to  write  King  Lear  he,  I  think,  wrote  yet  another, 
which  Feste  might  well  have  sung.  To  the  immortal  words, 

Poor  Fool  and  knave,  I  have  one  part  in  my  heart 
That's  sorry  yet  for  thee, 

the  Fool  replies, 

He  that  has  and  a  little  tiny  wit, 

With  hey,  ho,  the  wind  and  the  rain, 
Must  make  content  with  his  fortunes  fit, 

Though  the  rain  it  raineth  every  day. 

So  Shakespeare  brings  the  two  Fools  together  ;  and,  whether  or  no  he 
did  this  wittingly,  I  am  equally  grateful  to  him.  But  I  cannot  be  grateful 
to  those  critics  who  see  in  Feste 's  song  only  an  illustration  of  the  bad 
custom  by  which  sometimes,  when  a  play  was  finished,  the  clown 
remained,  or  appeared,  on  the  stage  to  talk  nonsense  or  to  sing  some 
old  *  trash  * ;  nor  yet  to  those  who  tell  us  that  it  was  *  the  players  '  who 
tacked  this  particular  *  trash  '  to  the  end  of  Twelfth  Night.  They  may 
conceivably  be  right  in  perceiving  no  difference  between  the  first  four 
stanzas  and  the  last,  but  they  cannot  possibly  be  right  in  failing  to 
perceive  how  appropriate  the  song  is  to  the  singer,  and  how  in  the  line 

But  that 's  all  one,  our  play  is  done, 

he  repeats  an  expression  used  a  minute  before  in  his  last  speech.1  We 
owe  these  things,  not  to  the  players,  but  to  that  player  in  Shakespeare's 
company  who  was  also  a  poet,  to  Shakespeare  himself — the  same  Shake 
speare  who  perhaps  had  hummed  the  old  song,  half-ruefully  and  half- 
cheerfully,  to  its  accordant  air,  as  he  walked  home  alone  to  his  lodging 
from  the  theatre  or  even  from  some  noble's  mansion  ;  he  who,  looking 
down  from  an  immeasurable  height  on  the  mind  of  the  public  and  the 
noble,  had  yet  to  be  their  servant  and  jester,  and  to  depend  upon  their 
favour  ;  not  wholly  uncorrupted  by  this  dependence,  but  yet  superior 
to  it  and,  also,  determined,  like  Feste,  to  lay  by  the  sixpences  it  brought 
him,  until  at  last  he  could  say  the  words,  *  Our  revels  now  are  ended/ 
and  could  break — was  it  a  magician's  staff  or  a  Fool's  bauble  ? 

Twelfth  Night  and  Mr.  Hay  den  Coffin's  presentment  ot  the  Fool's  part  must  always 
remember  them  with  great  pleasure,  and  not  least  the  singing  of  this  song. 

1  '  I  was  one,  sir,  in  this  interlude  ;  one  Sir  Topas,  sir  ;  but  that 's  all  one'   No  edition 
that  I  have  consulted  notices  the  repetition. 







SHAKESPEARE  in  The  Merchant  of  Venice,  as  elsewhere,  unconsciously 
divined  the  germ  of  the  myth  on  which  his  genius  worked.  Endless 
analogues  are  quoted  for  the  two  stories  blended  in  the  play  ;  and  we 
know  Shakespeare's  debt  to  the  Pecorone  of  Ser  Giovanni  Fiorentino 
and  the  rest.  The  legend,  I  feel  sure,  represents  an  early  homilist's 
attempt  to  exemplify  the  two  texts  :  *  Greater  love  hath  no  man  than 
this,  that  a  man  lay  down  his  life  for  his  friends/  and  '  Christ  also  loved 
the  church  and  gave  himself  for  it '.  The  vivid  exposition  of  these 
texts  produced  in  due  course  the  legend  of  *  the  Pound  of  Flesh ', 
and  *  the  Wooing  of  the  Lady '.  Under  the  cover  of  a  similitude — 
a  different  allegory — the  texts  are  well  expounded  in  the  early  English 
book  known  as  The  Nuns9  Rule ;  and  the  teacher  there  adds,  in  order  to 
drive  home  the  lesson,  *  Do  not  men  account  him  a  good  friend  who 
layeth  his  pledge  in  Jewry  to  release  his  companion  ?  God  Almighty 
laid  himself  in  Jewry  for  us,'  &C.1 

The  older  play  on  the  subject,  shown  in  London  at  the  Bull  before 
1580,  may  well  have  contained  some  abstract  characters,  linking  it  to  the 
Morality  drama.  Shakespeare's  Merchant  of  Venice,  starting  as  a  study 
of  usury,  in  its  treatment  of  the  theme  gives  glimpses  of  the  suggested 
origin  of  the  legend  ;  and  the  play  is  rightly  named  after  the  Merchant, 
whose  part  is  one  of  simple  dignity,  and  not  after  Shy  lock,  the  predomi 
nant  character  of  the  play.  Portia's  great  plea  for  mercy,  epitomizing 
a  whole  Moral  play,  reveals,  as  it  were,  the  inmost  significance  of  the 
Lady  of  Belmont,  as  originally  personifying  the  soul,  or  salvation,  or  the 
Church,  and  links  her  to  the  far-spread  beautiful  allegory  of  *  The  Four 
Daughters  of  God  '.2 

1  Ancren  Riwle,  ed.  Morton  (Camden  Society),  p.  394 ;   the  date  of  the  book  is 
about  1225. 

2  From  this  point  of  view  it  is  interesting  to  recall  such  earlier  plays  as  The  Three 
Ladies  of  London,  and  The  Three  Lords  and  Three  Ladies  of  London,  by  Robert  Wilson. 

I.  GOLLANCZ  171 

A  contemporary  of  Shakespeare,  Joseph  Fletcher,  saw  something  of 
this  aspect  of  the  play,  in  his  poem,  Christ's  Bloodie  Sweat,  1613  : — 

He  died  indeed,  not  as  an  actor  dies, 

To  die  today,  and  live  again  tomorrow, 

In  shew  to  please  the  audience,  or  disguise 

The  idle  habit  of  inforced  sorrow : 

The  cross  his  stage  was,  and  he  played  the  part 
Of  one  that  for  his  friend  did  pawn  his  heart. 

Various  speculations  have  been  hazarded  as  to  the  origin  of  the 
name  *  Shylock '.  '  Caleb  Shillocke,  his  prophecie,'  often  adduced,  is 
later  than  the  play  ;  and  the  suggested  connexion  with  Scialac — '  a 
Maronite  of  Mount  Lebanon  '  living  in  1614,  hardly  commends  itself 
to  serious  consideration,  nor  do  the  other  theories  propounded. 

Whether  Shakespeare  or  his  predecessor  gave  the  name  to  the 
character  cannot  be  absolutely  determined  ;  but  in  view  of  the  poet's 
careful  choice  of  names,  and  especially  of  other  names  in  the  play,  the 
inference  points  to  him. 

The  book  which  was  read  by  Elizabethans  for  everything  relating 
to  the  later  Jewish  history,  and  which  went  through  edition  after  edition, 
was  Peter  Morwyng's  translation  of  the  pseudo-Josephus,  *  A  com 
pendious  and  most  marveylous  History  of  the  latter  Times  of  the  Jewes 
Commune  Weale.'  The  influence  of  this  book  on  Elizabethan  literature 
would  repay  careful  study.  Malone  already  suggested  that  some  lines 
in  King  John  may  well  have  been  derived  from  Morwyng's  *  History  '  : — 

Do  like  the  mutines  of  Jerusalem, 
Be  friends  awhile  and  both  conjointly  bend 
Your  sharpest  deeds  of  malice  on  this  town.  .  .  . 
That  done,  dissever  your  united  strengths, 
And  part  your  mingled  colours  once  again.1 

In  Marlowe's  Jew  of  Malta,  and  elsewhere  in  the  plays  of  Eliza 
bethan  dramatists,  the  influence  of  the  book  can  be  detected. 

Near  the  beginning  of  the  *  History  '  we  read  :  *  About  that  time 
it  was  signified  also  to  them  of  Jerusalem  that  the  Askalonites  had 
entered  in  friendship  with  the  Romans.  They  sent  therefore  Neger 
the  Edomite,  and  Schiloch  the  Babylonian,  and  Jehochanan,  with  a  power 
of  the  common  people  ;  these  came  to  Askalon,  and  besieged  it  a  great 
space.  Within  the  town  was  a  Roman  captaine  called  Antonius,*  a 
valiant  man,  and  a  good  warrior.'  This  passage  may  well  account  for 
*  Shylock  '  ;  and  possibly  also  for  *  Antonio  '. 

1  King  John^  II.  i.  378.  2  Elsewhere  always  '  Antonie'. 


The  name  of  Marlowe's  Jew  of  Malta,  *  Barabas,'  is  easily  under 
stood.  But  why  should  *  Shiloch  '  be  chosen  for  the  Jew  of  Venice  ? 
I  am  strongly  inclined  to  explain  the  use  of  the  name  as  due  to  the  quite 
erroneous  association  of  *  Shiloch  '  with  *  Shallach  ',  the  Biblical  Hebrew 
for '  cormorant ',  the  bird  that  '  swoops  ',  or  dives  after  its  prey.  It  came 
into  the  lists  of  biblical  animals  and  into  glossaries  from  Leviticus  xi.  17 
where  it  is  mentioned  among  the  forbidden  fowls  *  to  be  held  in  abomina 
tion  '.  In  Elizabethan  English  *  cormorant '  was  an  expressive  synonym 
for  '  usurer  * ;  and  perhaps  the  best  commentary  on  the  use  of  the  word 
may  be  drawn  from  John  Taylor's  Satires,  entitled  The  Water-Cor 
morant  his  complaint  against  a  brood  of  Land-Cormorants,  published 
in  1622.  The  same  mind  that  chose  '  Jessica ',  *  Iscah  the  daughter 
of  Haran  ',  and  so  well  emphasized  the  supposed  significance  of  the  name 
as  *  she  that  looketh  out ',  and  that  created  almost  a  special  English  idiom 
for  Shy  lock,  evidently  knew  the  peculiar  force  of  the  words  *  to  bait 
fish  withal',  uttered  by  his  Cormorant  Usurer — the  Cormorant  of 
a  fictitious  legend,  having  its  starting-point  in  the  attempt  vividly 
to  exemplify  the  biblical  texts  already  quoted — a  legendary  mon 
strosity  fraught  with  all  the  greater  possibilities  inasmuch  as  at  that 
time  Jews  were  not  yet  permitted  to  reside  in  England,  and  there 
was  still  the  traditional  popular  prejudice.  From  this  point  of  view, 
the  play  must  be  considered  in  connexion  with  the  considerable 
Elizabethan  literature  on  Usury  ;  the  question  then  at  issue  being 
whether,  from  religious  as  well  as  from  moral  and  economic  standpoints, 
Englishmen  were  justified  in  taking  *  usances ',  often  exorbitant  as 
would  appear  from  contemporary  references. 

Shakespeare's  humanity  and  understanding  saved  Shylock  from 
being  the  mere  Cormorant-monster.  It  is  not  enough  to  contrast  him 
— however  favourably — with  his  prototype  *  The  Jew  of  Malta  '.  De 
spised,  maddened  by  the  sense  of  wrong,  obsessed  by  the  fixed  idea  of 
claiming  his  due  at  all  costs,  he  has  kinship  with  the  type  of  tragic 
character  best  represented  by  Hieronimo,  the  wronged  and  demented 
father,  who  in  The  Spanish  Tragedy  madly  achieves,  at  the  cost  of 
his  very  life,  the  vengeance  on  which  he  has  set  his  whole  jangled 

Lorenzo  is  Shakespeare's  mouthpiece  for  the  lesson  of  the  play  ; 
and  it  is  enunciated  by  him  to  Shy  lock's  daughter,  who  was  lost  to 
her  father  more  cruelly  than  was  the  slain  Horatio  to  the  distraught 
Hieronimo.  Jessica,  *  she  who  looked  out '  beyond  her  father's  home, 
by  her  heartless  defection  goaded  him  to  Hieronimo-like  distraction. 

I.    GOLLANCZ  173 

To  her,  the  '  Juliet J  of  the  play,  this  lesser  Romeo  expounds  the 
lofty  doctrine  of  mystic  harmony  : — 

Such  harmony  is  in  immortal  souls ; 
But,  whilst  this  muddy  vesture  of  decay 
Doth  grossly  close  it  in,  we  cannot  hear  it. 


The  question  of  the  name  *  Polonius  '  opens  up  a  fascinating  line 
of  investigation,  and  it  is  many  years  ago  since  first  my  curiosity  was 
whetted  to  discover  why  it  was  that  Shakespeare  deliberately  changed 
the  name  of  the  character  from  *  Corambis  ',  as  it  appears  in  the  First 
Quarto,  to  *  Polonius  '  in  the  authorized  version  of  Hamlet.  Why  the 
change,  and  what  the  origin  and  significance  of  the  names  ?  The  sub 
stitution  of  *  Falstaff '  for  *  Oldcastle  '  in  Henry  IV  is  abundant  proof 
that  such  variations  merit  investigation.  The  name  *  Corambis  ',  or 
more  correctly  *  Corambus  ',  the  form  found  in  the  early  German  version 
of  Fratricide  Punished,  and  as  a  passing  name  in  Shakespeare's  All 's  Well 
that  Ends  Well,  is,  I  feel  sure,  the  creation  of  the  author  of  the  pre- 
Shakespearian  Hamlet,  who,  if  Kyd,  made  a  characteristic  use  of  his 

*  little  Latin  '  by  cleverly  re-Latinizing  crambe  (with  its  popular  variant 
Crambo)   used   in   contemporary   English   for  twice-cooked   cabbage, 
i.e.  tedious  and  unpleasant  iteration,  with  reference  to  the  Latin  phrase 
Crambe  repetita  (cp.  Occidit  miser os  crambe  repetita  magistros).    '  Cor- 
ambe  '  and  variants  are   found  in  Latin-English  dictionaries  of  the 
period.    *  Corambis  '  or  *  Corambus  ',  therefore,  was  merely,  as  it  were, 

*  old  Crambo  ',  an  excellent  name  for  the  inherent  characteristic  of  the 
Counsellor,  who  in  the  original  of  the  story,  as  told  by  Saxo  Grammaticus 
in  the  Danish  History,  had  exalted  ideas  of  his  own  profound  astuteness, 
for  which  he  paid  the  heavy  penalty.    Evidently  the  possibilities  of  the 
character  were  effectively  developed  by  the  earlier  dramatist ;    and  one 
may  hazard  the  conjecture  that  the  character  was  so  set  forth  as  to  portray 
some  marked  characteristics  of  Elizabeth's  aged  Counsellor,  the  great 
statesman  Burleigh,  for  whom  contemporary  men  of  letters  had  but 
scant  reverence.    Spenser's  scorn  of  Burleigh  in  The  Ruins  of  Time  and 
Mother  Hubbard's  Tale,  1591,  finds  an  echo  in  the  writings  of  many  a 
contemporary  author  : 

O  griefe  of  griefes,  6  gall  of  all  good  heartes, 

To  see  that  vertue  should  dispised  bee, 

Of  him,  that  first  was  raisde  for  vertuous  parts, 


And  now  broad  spreading  like  an  aged  tree, 
Lets  none  shoot  up,  that  nigh  him  planted  bee: 
O  let  the  man,  of  whom  the  Muse  is  scorned, 
Nor  aliue,  nor  dead  be  of  the  Muse  adorned. 

We  know  that  The  Ruins  of  Time  was  *  called  in  ',  and  that,  when  in  1611 
the  First  Folio  of  Spenser 's  Poems  (minus  Mother  HubbarcTs  Tale,  how 
ever)  was  published,  the  obnoxious  passage  was  toned  down,  so  as  to  be 
general  and  not  specific  in  its  application. 

Burleigh  died  in  1598  ;  and  his  son  Robert  Cecil  became  one  of  the 
foremost  men  of  the  State.  We  may  certainly  assume  that  the  change 
of  name  from  *  Corambis  '  to  *  Polonius  '  was  made  by  Shakespeare 
soon  after  1598  when  he  was  still  transforming  the  older  play  ;  and  that 
he  was  anxious  to  make  it  clear  that  his  Counsellor  (Second  Quarto  oddly 
reads  *  Counsel,  as  Polonius  ')  was  not  to  be  associated  in  the  public 
mind  with  the  earlier  caricature  of  the  great  statesman  who  had  gone 
to  his  rest.  It  is  noteworthy  that  there  are  no  very  essential  differences 
between  the  general  utterances  of  Corambis  in  the  First  Quarto  and  those 
of  Polonius  in  the  Second  Quarto  ;  and  the  inference  would  be  either 
that  Shakespeare  in  his  early  revision  of  the  old  play  had  taken  over  the 
name,  or  that  the  old  popular  name  *  Corambis  '  was  attached  to  the 
character,  instead  of  *  Polonius  ',  by  the  unauthorized  purloiners 
answerable  for  the  publication  of  the  First  Quarto. 

It  is  to  be  noted  that  one  of  the  most  popular  books  of  its  kind  in 
England  at  this  time,  and  famous  throughout  Europe — a  work  somehow 
or  other  overlooked  by  previous  investigators  1 — was  an  exhaustive 
manual  for  counsellors  and  diplomatists,  entitled  De  Optimo  Senator e 
(Venice,  1568  ;  Basle,  1593,  &c.)  by  perhaps  the  greatest  Polish  states 
man  of  the  age,  Laurentius  Grimalius  Goslicius,  Bishop  of  Posen. 
An  English  translation,  entitled  *  The  Counsellor',  appeared  in  1598, 
the  very  year  that  Burleigh  died.  Its  long  descriptive  title  sets  forth 
the  contents  of  the  book  : 

A  golden  work  replenished  with  the  chief  learning  of  the  most  excellent  philosophers 
and  lawgivers,  and  not  only  profitable  but  very  necessary  for  all  those  that  be  admitted  to 
the  administration  of  a  well-governed  Commonweal;  written  in  Latin  by  Laurentius 
Grimaldus  (stc)^  and  consecrated  to  the  honour  of  the  Polonian  Empire. 

Another  English  translation  of  a  portion  of  the  work  is  to  be  found  in 
the  British  Museum.2  But,  apart  from  the  English  translation,  the 

1  See  summary  of  a  paper  read  by  me  before  the  British  Academy,  April  27,  1904, 
Proceedings  of  British  Academy \  vol.  i. 

2  Add.  MSS.  18613. 

I.    GOLLANCZ  175 

original  Latin  was  known  in  England  ;  as  may  be  seen  from  a  reference 
in  Gabriel  Harvey 's  Pierces  Supererogation  (1593).  The  translation 
must,  however,  have  done  much  to  make  the  work  generally  known. 
We  may  feel  sure  that  it  was  this  translation  that  Shakespeare  looked 
into,  and,  to  the  honour  of  the  *  Polonian  '  name,  dubbed  the  counsellor 
of  the  King  of  Denmark  by  a  name  which  could  only  mean  the  Polonian, 
or  the  Pole.  It  is  strange  that  this  book,  which  was  so  famous,  and  which 
was  re-issued  and  re-translated  in  different  versions  in  the  sixteenth, 
seventeenth,  and  eighteenth  centuries,  seems  altogether  to  have  escaped 
notice  in  modern  times,  until  some  years  back,  when  I  hazarded  the 
conjecture  that  here  was  to  be  found  the  solution  of  the  problem  of 
*  Polonius  '.  At  the  time  my  critics  asked  for  evidence  (which  I  could 
not  then  adduce)  of  the  alleged  popularity  of  the  work  in  question  ;  but 
since  then  I  have  been  able  from  contemporary  evidence  to  satisfy 
criticism  on  this  point.  A  Polish  historian  of  the  time,  secretary  to 
King  Stephen,  addressing  Goslicius  in  the  preface  to  a  work  published 
in  the  year  1600,  praises  him  for  his  literary  achievements,  and — writing 
of  course  in  Latin — adds  a  special  commendation  in  respect  of  his  work 
De  Optimo  Senatore  'than  which  ',  he  says,  *  according  to  report,  no  work 
in  England  is  more  delighted  in,  or  more  thumbed  ' : — 

Unus  ille  de  optimo  Senatore  liber  tuus,  quantam  non  modo  tibi  sed  et  cunctae  genti 
nostrae  conciliaverit  gloriam,  arbitror  dubitare  neminem,  quum  sincere  quidam  mihi  dixerit, 
nullius  libentius,  quam  ilium  librum  in  Anglia  teri  in  manibus  hominum,  de  optimo  senatore.1 

There  was  a  continued  tradition  in  England  concerning  this  work. 
In  1604,  the  year  in  which  Grimalius  died,  a  second  edition  appeared 
of  the  English  translation,  or,  more  likely,  some  copies  of  the  old  book 
with  a  new  title-page.  In  1660,  there  was  published  in  English  without 
the  slightest  indication  of  its  being  a  translated  work,  the  greater  part 
of  The  Sage  Senator,  to  which  was  '  annexed  the  new  Models  of  Modern 
Policy,  by  J.  G.'  In  1733,  Oldisworth,  the  political  pamphleteer,  issued 
an  elaborate  English  translation,  with  a  lengthy  and  enthusiastic,  though 
inaccurate,  introduction.  In  the  Preface  he  states  that  in  his  work  '  the 
Author  has  traced  his  Senator  from  the  cradle  to  the  School,  and  thence 
to  the  University,  the  Camp,  the  Bar,  and  the  Bench  of  Justice.  He  has 
followed  him  in  all  his  travels,  and  through  every  stage  and  period  of 

1  I  find  the  passage  quoted  in  a  small  Latin  dissertation  on  Goslicius,  by  Romanus 
Lopinski  (Halle,  1872),  p.  49.  There  is,  of  course,  no  idea  on  the  part  of  the  author  that 
the  quotation  bore  on  this  theory.  In  a  lecture  at  the  Royal  Institution  on  February  26, 1914, 
the  second  of  two  lectures  dealing  with  '  Hamlet  in  Legend  and  Drama ',  I  first  called  atten 
tion  to  this  valuable  corroboration,  for  which  I  had  been  long  seeking. 


his  private  and  public  life,  to  his  last  and  highest  attainment  as  a 
Minister  of  State*. 

The  Counsellor  is  in  two  Books ;  at  the  end  of  Book  I  the 
author  admits  the  possibility  *  of  wearying  the  reader's  mind  and  thereby 
becoming  tedious  '.  *  This  is  too  long  ' — as  Polonius  observed  with 
reference  to  the  Player's  Speech. 

A  summary  of  the  work  is  beyond  the  limits  of  a  brief  Note  ;  but 
a  few  passages  may  be  quoted  by  way  of  illustration  : 

1 1  do  therefore  think  expedient  that  in  the  person  ot  our  Counsellor  there  should  be 
such  ripeness  of  age  as  might  exercise  the  virtues  beseeming  so  honourable  a  personage,  and 
in  his  calling  hold  so  great  a  gravity  and  reputation  as  all  other  citizens  and  subjects  may 
hope  at  his  hand  to  receive  comfort,  quiet,  and  counsel  profitable  to  the  whole  commonwealth.1 

*Our  Counsellor  then,  instructed  in  the  precepts  of  Philosophy,  shall  not  from  thence 
forth  be  shut  up,  &c.' 

4  The  Commonwealth  therefore  requireth  the  counsel  of  some  notable  and  divine  man, 
in  whom  it  may  repose  the  care  of  her  happiness  and  well-doing.  By  his  direction  and 
government  all  perils,  sedition,  discords,  mutations  and  inclinations  may  be  suppressed,  and 
thereby  enjoy  a  happy  peace  and  tranquility.' 

4  It  behoveth  him  to  be  witty,  docile,  of  good  memory,  of  sound  understanding, 
circumspect,  provident,  wary,  and  wily.' 

'Let  the  Counsellor  know  his  own  wit.' 

4  Our  Counsellor  should  be  circumspect,  not  only  in  those  things  which  do  happen 
privately,  but  also  in  every  other  that  may  be  hurtful  to  the  Commonwealth.1 

Many  other  passages  may  be  adduced  showing  how  Counsellors 

...  Of  wisdom  and  of  reach, 

With  windlasses  and  with  assays  of  bias, 

By  indirections  find  directions  out. 

But  it  is  not  merely  to  the  words  and  character  of  Polonius  that 
suggestive  parallels  may  be  found  in  this  Manual.  Some  of  the  most 
striking  chapters  of  the  book  are  devoted  to  man  as  a  creature  endowed 
with  reason,  and  some  of  the  loftiest  sentiments  of  Hamlet  sound  to  me 
like  echoes  from  passages  in  the  work,  notably  the  famous  words  : 

*  What  a  piece  of  work  is  man !  how  noble  in  reason  !  how  infinite  in  faculty !  in 
form  and  moving  how  express  and  admirable !  in  action  how  like  an  angel !  in  apprehension 
how  like  a  god !  the  beauty  of  the  world  !  the  paragon  of  animals  ! ' x 

With  this  speech  of  Hamlet,  compare  the  following  : 

'  Among  all  creatures  contained  within  the  circle  of  the  earth,  that  which  we  call  man 
is  the  chiefest  and  of  most  reputation,  for  he  alone  of  all  other  living  things  of  what  nature 

1  The  First  Quarto  seems  to  give  a  garbled  version  of  the  lines  as  we  have  them  in  the 
Second  Quarto. 



soever  is  made  not  only  an  inhabitant  and  citizen  of  the  world,  but  also  a  lord  and  prince 


'  Reason  doth  make  men  like  unto  God.' 

*  The  wise  man  by  his  virtue  resembleth  the  likeness  of  God.' 

1  But  what  is  that  which  in  man  is  most  excellent  ?     Surely  Reason  !  ' 

4  The  chief  duty  of  man  is  to  know  that  his  original  proceedeth  from  God,  and  from 

Him  to  have  received  Reason,  whereby  he  resembleth  his  Maker.     But  for  that  the  Reason 

of  man  is  shut  up  within  the  body  as  a  prison  whereby  it  knoweth  not  itself,  it  behoveth  the 

mind  to  break  forth  from  that  place  of  restraint,  and  to  win  liberty.' 

Measure  for  Measure  was  written  about  the  same  time  as  Hamlet. 
It  should  be  noted  that  a  section  of  Grimalius's  work  was  on  the  respon 
sibilities  of  the  counsellor  as  judge,  and  some  of  the  most  striking 
passages  in  the  book  have  reference  to  magistrates  good  and  bad.  *  The 
evil  example  of  magistrates  works  more  ill  than  their  virtues  work  good/ 
wrote  Goslicius,  and  he  amplifies  the  theme.  Shakespeare,  who  had 
already,  with  lighter  touch,  portrayed  vain  and  testy  magistrates,  now 
in  Hamletian  mood  portrayed  '  Angelo  ' — the  Counsellor  *  most  still, 
most  secret,  and  most  grave  ' — deputy  of  the  Duke,  whom  he  supposed 
travelled  to  Poland.  The  very  spirit  of  Goslicius  seems  to  speak  through 
Shakespeare  in  the  famous  words  : 

He  who  the  sword  of  heaven  will  bear 
Should  be  as  holy  as  severe. 


It  is  generally  admitted  that  the  *  Befooling  of  Malvolio  ' — the 
comic  interlude  in  Twelfth  Night,  or,  What  You  Will — is  Shakespeare's 
own  invention,  grafted  upon  a  romantic  Italian  love-story.  '  Malevolti ' 
is  the  nearest  form  of  the  name  discovered  in  the  possible  sources  or 
analogies  of  the  main  plot ;  '  Malvolio  '  looks  like  a  parallel  to  '  Ben- 
volio '.  The  character  is  obviously  topical,  as  are  also  Sir  Toby  and 
Aguecheek.  In  view  of  the  fondness  of  the  Elizabethans,  and  Shake 
speare  in  particular,  of  playing  upon  *  Will ',  Malvolio  may  well  stand  for 
*  111  Will '.  Nothing  has  been  adduced  against  the  theory  hazarded  by 
me  some  years  ago  that  finds  the  original  of  Malvolio  in  Sir  Ambrose 
Willoughby,  Queen  Elizabeth's  Chief  Sewer  and  Squire  of  the  Presence, 
whose  quarrel  with  the  Earl  of  Southampton  is  referred  to  in  a  letter 
(printed  in  the  Sydney  Papers)  from  Rowland  White,  dated  January, 

'  The  quarrel  of  my  Lord  Southampton  to  Ambrose  Willoughby,'  he  wrote  on 
January  21,  'grew  upon  this:  that  he  with  Sir  Walter  Raleigh  and  Mr.  Parker  being  at 
primero  in  the  Presence  Chamber;  the  Queen  was  gone  to  bed,  and  he  being  there  as 
Squire  for  the  Body,  desired  them  to  give  over.  Soon  after  he  spoke  to  them  again,  that 
if  they  would  not  leave  he  would  call  in  the  guard  to  pull  down  the  board,  which, 


Sir  Walter  Raleigh  seeing1,  put  up  his  money  and  went  his  ways.  But  my  Lord 
Southampton  took  exceptions  at  him,  and  told  him  he  would  remember  it ;  and  so 
finding  him  between  the  Tennis  Court  wall  and  the  garden  shook  him,  and  Willoughby 
pulled  out  some  of  his  locks.  The  Queen  gave  Wiiloughby  thanks  for  what  he  did  in  his 
Presence,  and  told  him  he  had  done  better  if  he  had  sent  him  to  the  Porter's  Lodge  to  see 
who  durst  have  fetched  him  out.' 

The  quarrel  was  evidently  the  occasion  of  much  gossip.  South 
ampton  kept  away  from  the  court  for  a  time,  and  found  comfort  in 
witnessing  plays.  What  more  likely  than  that  his  devotee  Shakespeare 
should  cleverly  utilize  the  incident  ?  It  would  have  been  a  congenial 
task  to  hit  off  on  the  stage  the  pretentious  Squire  of  the  Presence.  The 
Fourth  Scene  of  the  Second  Act  of  the  play  ('  Do  ye  make  an  alehouse 
of  my  lady's  house/  &c.)  may  well  illustrate  Shakespeare's  manner  of 
transforming  the  incident,  without  losing  the  essential  traits  which  might 
make  the  caricature  recognizable. 

If  this  theory  of  *  Malvolio  '  is  correct,  the  original  performance  of 
the  play  points  to  Twelfth  Night,  1599.  The  date  generally  assigned, 

*  about  1600  '  to  this  and  other  comedies  is,  in  my  opinion,  too  late. 
Twelfth  Night  was  evidently  written  before  (not  after)  the  tragic  fall  of 
Essex  and  Southampton. 

Ambrose  Willoughby  was  the  second  son  of  Charles,  Baron  Wil 
loughby  of  Parham.  As  early  as  1589  he  is  described  in  State  Papers 

*  as  one  of  the  Sewers  of  her  Majesty's  own  table  '  ;   but  in  1593  he 
received  the  life-appointment  as  Sewer — an  office  previously  held  by 
Sir  Henry  Brooke  alias  Cobham,  Sir  Percival  Hart,  and  Sir  Edward 
Nevill.    In  June  1602  Willoughby  had  a  violent  quarrel  with  Grey 
Brydges  (later  Lord  Chandos),  and  *  was  hurt  in  the  head  and  body,  for 
abusing  his  father  and  himself  at  a  conference  of  arbitrement  'twixt  them 
and  Mistress  Brydges',  i.e.  Elizabeth,  Grey's  first  cousin,  who  claimed 
part  of  the  family  estates.     Willoughby  seems  to  have  borne  *  ill-will ' 
towards  Grey  and  his  father,  both  of  them  friends  of  Essex,  and  to  some 
extent  implicated  in  the  insurrection.    The  friends  of  Essex  and  South 
ampton  would  not  regard  with  much  favour  Elizabeth's  Squire  of  the 
Presence.     On  James's   accession,  when   Southampton  was  set  free, 
Willoughby  was  relieved  of  his  office,  surrendering  it  *  voluntarily  '  to 

*  the  King's  beloved  Servant  Sir  Thomas  Penruddock '. 

The  cumulative  evidence  seems  fully  to  justify  the  claim  that  the 
passage  in  Rowland  White's  letter  gives  us  the  needful  clue  to  the 
personality  of  *  Malvolio ',  and  thus  to  the  date  of  the  composition  of 
the  play,  as  being  before  Twelfth  Night,  1599,  possibly  with  slight 
additions  later. 


W.  W.  GREG  179 


THERE  is  a  point  in  connexion  with  the  players'  play  in  Hamlet, 
which,  if  significant  at  all,  has  certainly  not  received  from  commentators 
the  attention  it  deserves.  The  orthodox  and  obvious  interpretation  of 
the  action  is,  of  course,  familiar.  King  Claudius,  who  has  disposed  of 
his  brother  and  predecessor  by  the  very  peculiar  device  of  pouring  poison 
into  his  ears,  is  witnessing  the  performance  of  a  play  which  Hamlet 
facetiously  calls  the  *  Mousetrap '.  This  reproduces  in  a  remarkably 
complete  manner  the  circumstances  of  his  own  crime,  and  when  the 
critical  moment  arrives  and  he  sees  the  most  intimate  details  of  his  action 
represented  before  the  assembled  court,  his  nerve  gives  way  and  he 
rushes  terror-stricken  from  the  hall.  It  should  be  observed  that  his 
alarm  must  be  ascribed  solely  to  the  action  of  the  play,  for  the  language 
is  in  no  way  significant. 

Now,  this  interpretation  is  open  to  a  most  serious  objection.  For 
the  play  itself  is  preceded  by  a  dumb-show  in  which  the  whole  action 
of  the  piece  is  minutely  set  forth.  So  far  as  the  action  is  concerned, 
and  it  is  the  action  alone  that  is  significant,  the  play  proper  adds  nothing 
new  whatever.  Consequently,  on  the  assumptions  usually  made,  either 
the  King  must  have  betrayed  himself  over  the  dumb-show,  or  there  is 
no  conceivable  reason  why  he  should  betray  himself  at  all.  Incidentally 
I  must  point  out  that  there  is  no  getting  rid  of  the  dumb-show,  for  not 
only  is  the  textual  tradition  unassailable,  but  the  spectators  are  actually 
made  to  comment  upon  this  unusual  feature  of  the  performance. 

So  far  as  I  can  see  there  are  only  two  possible  lines  for  criticism  to 
take.  Either  Shakespeare  blundered  badly  in  the  crucial  scene  of  the 
play,  or  else  the  orthodox  interpretation  is  wrong.  If  the  former,  there 

1  Before  the  outbreak  of  war  made  unwonted  claims  on  the  activities  of  so  many 
harmless  students,  I  had  drafted  a  somewhat  elaborate  study  of  the  problem  propounded  in 
the  present  note.  But  the  criticisms  of  various  friends  to  whom  I  submitted  it  convinced 
me  that  my  presentation  of  the  case  required  considerable  modification  before  it  could  be 
passed  as  even  moderately  satisfactory.  Not  having  found  time  for  the  necessary  revision, 
I  take  this  opportunity  for  a  bald  statement  of  the  problem,  hoping  in  a  happier  future  to 
return  to  the  subject  at  greater  length. 


is  no  more  to  be  said  :  but  if  logic  goes  for  anything  in  dramatic  criticism, 
then  it  follows  from  the  action  of  the  scene  that  it  is  not  the  stage 
poisoning  that  upsets  the  King,  and  consequently  that  Claudius  did 
not  poison  his  brother  in  the  manner  represented.  But  this  im 
mediately  leads  to  a  far  more  important  conclusion.  If  the  King  did 
not  murder  his  predecessor  by  pouring  poison  into  his  ears,  then  the 
account  of  the  affair  given  by  the  Ghost  to  Hamlet  is  untrue,  in  other 
words  the  Ghost's  narrative  is  not  a  revelation  from  the  dead  but 
a  figment  of  Hamlet's  brain. 

It  will  be  obvious  how  important  are  the  implications  of  this  view 
and  what  difficulties  are  involved  in  its  acceptance.  I  have  not  yet 
satisfied  myself  as  to  the  exact  nature  of  the  implications  or  as  to  the 
exact  extent  of  the  difficulties,  and  I  therefore  put  forward  this  note 
rather  as  a  suggestion  than  as  a  formal  proposition.  On  two  cardinal 
points,  however,  I  think  I  can  indicate  the  direction  in  which  a  solution 
may  be  found. 

We  have  for  one  thing  to  account  for  the  obvious  fact  that  the  King 
does  actually  interrupt  the  performance  of  the  players  at  the  very 
moment  of  the  murder.  To  Hamlet  this  is,  of  course,  proof  positive 
of  the  truth  of  his  suspicions  ;  but  a  careful  examination  of  the  scene 
will,  I  think,  show  that  ample  explanation  of  the  King's  action  is  afforded 
by  the  wild  and  menacing  behaviour  of  Hamlet  himself.  Then  there 
is  the  ghostly  interview  to  be  considered.  Is  this  scene,  upon  the 
orthodox  assumptions,  so  satisfactory  as  to  make  us  reject  any  alterna 
tive  ?  Hardly  :  and  to  my  mind  an  analysis  of  the  Ghost's  narrative 
supplies  the  very  strongest  and  strangest  confirmation  of  the  theory  here 
proposed.  For  it  can,  I  believe,  be  shown  that  every  point  in  the 
pretended  revelation  is  but  the  reflection  of  something  that  we  either 
know,  or  can  reasonably  infer,  to  be  present  in  Hamlet's  own  mind 
including  the  minute  and  surprising  details  of  the  murder  itself. 

W.  W.  GREG. 



ANOTHER  ripe  and  ready  for  the  boards  ! 

Methinks  it  laughs  with  graciousness  ;    and  yet 

Despite  this  ever-smiling  Southwark  face, 

The  laughter  is  not  mine,  the  conquering  vein 

Still  less  !    albeit  in  both  I  please  myself, 

And  both  bring  profit  in  a  tide  that  swells 

Above  my  wildest  hopes.    How  had  I  hailed 

This  flux  of  fortune  in  the  distant  days 

When,  staggering  'neath  his  load,  the  old  man  groaned 

O'er  vanishing  repute  and  debts  unpaid, 

And  I  could  bring  no  succour  !    'Tis  all  changed  : 

The  wheel  comes  fair  about ;   but  has  not  brought 

Oblivion  of  bitterness  :    even  now 

He  glooms  and  sickens,  and  my  pen  moves  slow. 

Yet  Anne  is  settled  safe — Anne  and  her  girls — 

Proud  of  her  fine  new  house,  the  most  perhaps 

Such  husband  could  require  ;    and  for  the  boy, 

He  needs  our  care  no  longer.    Had  I  cared 

While  care  might  have  availed — vain,  vain  !   no  more  ! 

Could  a  man  bridle  his  necessities, 

Tether  and  drive  at  will,  there  yet  had  been 

One  to  inherit  this  quick-coming  wealth, 

And  idle  coat,  whose  getting  spoiled  a  play, 

Flattered  the  father,  mother — son  perchance  ! 

But  no  !   while  all  men  count  me  fortunate, 

I  cannot  taste  my  havings,  still  adrought 

'Mid  flowing  waters  that  assuage  no  thirst. 



And  these  my  discontents  admonish  me 

That  not  the  harvest  but  the  husbandry 

Is  life  for  me — these  taskmasters  that  urge 

My  doubtful  steps  on  paths  untrodden  yet, 

Perturbing  thoughts,  unanswered  questionings, 

That  speak  of  life  as  no  illuminate  page, 

Success,  disaster,  good  and  evil  ways 

Sharply  divided — but  a  devious  track 

Through  dark  and  clear,  that  baffles  prophecy 

And  falsifies  the  forthright  estimate  ; 

Strange  scene  where  Fortune  flings  the  wretch  her  prize, 

And  Good  does  acts  that  seem  intolerable, 

And  suffers,  to  a  purpose.     Where  's  the  book 

I  fashioned,  half  from  Kyd,  and  left  for  lack 

Of  leisure  ?    I  am  minded  now  to  inscribe 

Somewhat  of  these  dim  stirrings,  or  in  that, 

Or  in  the  Roman  ;   they  are  not  unlike, 

Like  with  a  difference. — Nay,  'tis  almost  night ! 

Well,  I  will  enter  Night,  disdaining  Day 

With  all  her  sunshine  yields,  and,  wrestling  there 

With  haunting  shadows  that  beset  my  peace, 

Find  victory  or  defeat,  and,  after,  rest, 

If  rest  be  granted.    Haply  that  dim  coast 

Descried  afar  across  this  billowy  waste 

Where  strong  souls  struggle  and  founder,  holds  some  life 

A  man  may  grasp,  more  firm,  more  real  than  this  ; 

And  I  may  reach  it. 

Boy,  there  !    hie  thee  quick 
To  the  Mitre,  where  a  company  of  friends 
Expects  me  :   say,  I  shall  not  come  to-night. 




To  praise  Shakespeare  it  is  only  necessary  to  take  up  any  one  of 
the  authentic  plays  and  read  it,  but  to  praise  him  worthily  it  is  necessary 
to  be  strict  with  him  and  with  ourselves.  Indiscriminate  adulation  has 
not  only  dishonoured  many  of  his  admirers,  it  has  concealed  and 
debased  Shakespeare  himself  as  the  fine  lines  of  woodwork  are  con 
cealed  and  debased  by  layers  of  paint.  As  to  the  play  to  be  selected 
there  will  be  many  opinions.  If  I  choose  Antony  and  Cleopatra  it  is  not 
because  I  find  in  it  any  character  wholly  sympathetic  or  admirable, 
but  because  in  that  play  and  in  its  persons  I  feel  Shakespeare  moving 
with  most  perfect  mastery.  In  setting  forth  the  story  of  a  Hamlet,  an 
Imogen,  a  Desdemona,  or  the  life  of  some  generation  of  historic  England, 
he  is  certain  of  conquering  us,  because  he  has  at  least  one  point  at  which 
his  force  is  overwhelming,  his  weapon  heart-piercing  :  but  in  the  alien 
life  of  the  Imperial  vices  he  must  win  at  every  turn  or  fail  to  carry  us. 

The  difficulties  appear  to  be  immense.  The  story  is  a  great  story, 
with  all  the  prestige  of  ancient  Rome  and  of  the  gorgeous  East ;  with 
the  whole  known  world  for  its  stage,  and  the  masters  of  the  world  for 
its  dramatis  personae.  Their  qualities,  good  and  bad,  are  such  as  can  be 
judged  by  any  one  who  has  watched  human  nature,  yet  they  are  on  a 
scale  beyond  our  experience  and  must  be  shown  not  merely  with  clear 
ness  and  intensity  but  with  the  element  of  greatness  added.  To  add 
this  element  of  greatness,  not  only  to  one  character,  but  to  every  character 
of  importance  in  the  play,  and  yet  to  keep  the  voices  true  throughout, 
would  be  hard  for  any  writer,  and  perhaps  especially  hard,  we  might 
think,  for  Shakespeare.  He  was  writing  for  a  generation  which  loved 
poetry,  eloquence,  and  sententiousness — loved  even  conceits,  florid 
metaphors,  and  bombast.  We  cannot  for  a  moment  imagine  that  a 
great  artist  could  have  been  tempted  to  use  these  as  aids  external  to  his 
own  intuition,  mechanical  tricks  to  heighten  an  effect.  But  to  a  certain 
extent  he  shared  the  tastes  of  his  generation,  and  the  question  for  us  is 
this  :  how  far,  in  a  play  where  greatness  of  manner  was  demanded  of 
him  by  his  subject,  did  he  preserve  a  tone  which  was  not  only  true  to 

N  2 


the  ear  of  his  own  age,  but  remains  true  for  us  too  and  therefore  probably 
for  all  time. 

I  believe  that  the  more  attentively  Antony  and  Cleopatra  is  read, 
the  better  it  will  be  found  to  bring  Shakespeare  through  this  severe 
test.  It  is  a  long  play,  but  I  have  found  not  more  than  a  dozen  places 
in  it  where  a  phrase  disturbs  the  attention  as  irrelevant  to  the  matter 
or  inconsistent  with  the  tone  given  throughout  to  the  character  speaking. 
Antony  once  mixes  three  metaphors  : 

The  hearts 

That  spaniel'd  me  at  heels,  to  whom  I  gave 
Their  wishes,  do  discandy,  melt  their  sweets 
On  blossoming  Caesar;   and  this  pine  is  bark'd, 
That  overtopp'd  them  all. 

But  in  a  speech  which  is  a  torrent  of  energy  this  is  hardly  unnatural. 
Twice  he  is  surprisingly  elegant :  *  he  wears  the  rose  of  youth  upon  him ' 
is  an  odd  poetical  phrase  in  a  challenge,  and  odder  still  from  a  bluff 
general  to  his  troops  is 

This  morning,  like  the  spirit  of  a  youth 
That  means  to  be  of  note,  begins  betimes. 

The  same  inconsistency  appears  in  the  scene  where  Octavia  weeps  and 
Antony  remarks — to  Caesar  too  ! — *  The  April 's  in  her  eyes  .  .  . ',  ending 
much  more  characteristically  with  an  abrupt  *  Be  cheerful '.  Compared 
with  the  perfectly  apt  image  of  the  *  swan's  down-feather  '  which  follows 
it,  this  *  April '  shows  as  a  mere  conceit.  But  these  are  small  cavils  :  if 
a  serious  charge  were  brought  against  the  play  it  would  be  upon  the  use 
of  magniloquence  or  bombast.  It  is  undeniable  that  Antony,  with  all  his 
splendid  vitality  and  directness,  is  in  several  places  irrelevantly  given  to 
words.  When  he  exclaims  in  the  supreme  height  of  his  impatience, 

Let  Rome  in  Tiber  melt,  and  the  wide  arch 
Of  the  rang'd  empire  fall !     Here  is  my  space. 

he  clogs  the  first  phrase  with  the  second  and  delays  the  flood  of  his 
anger.  When  he  bids  Eros  unarm  him,  it  is  right  enough  that  he  should 
speak  of  the  sevenfold  shield  of  Ajax,  and  cry,  *  Bruised  pieces,  go ! ', 
but  *  O !  cleave,  my  sides ;  Heart,  once  be  stronger  than  thy  continent, 
Crack  thy  frail  case  !  '  is  unhappily  thrust  between.  In  each  of  these 
instances,  as  in  others,  an  easy  proof  of  the  irrelevancy  of  the  phrases 
complained  of,  is  to  read  the  passage  as  it  would  stand  without  them.  It 
will,  I  think,  be  found  to  gain  much  by  the  omission. 

Four  cases  would,  if  I  am  right,  be  proved  against  Cleopatra  :  at 
the  end  of  Act  III  it  is  difficult  not  to  be  thrown  off  by  the  forced  image 


of  the  poison 'd  hail  to  be  engendered  in  her  heart  and  thence  dropped 
in  her  neck.  The  other  three  flaws  all  occur  in  the  magnificent  Scene  xiii 
of  Act  IV.  When  her  dying  lord  is  carried  in,  Cleopatra's  natural  cry : 

O  Antony, 
Antony,  Antony!     Help,  Charmian! 

is  unfortunately  preceded  by  two  lines  of  gigantesque  apostrophe  to 
the  sun.  Twenty  lines  later  her  very  telling  cry  of  distress  at  being  too 
weak  to  lift  the  dying  man  is  interrupted  by  the  sonorous  bit  of  learning 
about  Juno,  Mercury,  and  Jove  :  and  in  the  next  speech  *  the  false 
housewife  Fortune  '  is  still  more  false  and  unfortunate.  To  say  this 
is  to  judge  very  strictly  :  but  how  can  any  standard  be  too  high  for 
a  scene  of  such  supreme  word-magic — a  scene  which  contains  Antony's 
speeches  *  I  am  dying,  Egypt,  dying  .  .  . ',  and  *  The  miserable  change 
now  at  my  end  .  .  . ',  and  Cleopatra's 

Well  bury  him ;   and  then  what 's  brave,  what 's  noble, 
Let's  do  it  after  the  high  Roman  fashion, 
And  make  death  proud  to  take  us. 

It  is  very  noteworthy  that  from  this  point  to  the  end  the  play  is  by 
any  standard  faultless.  In  Act  V  there  is  one  rhetorical  passage,  but  it 
is  a  description  of  Antony,  elaborated  by  the  indignant  queen  to  con 
found  Dolabella,  and  it  is  entirely  successful.  In  all  the  rest  the  vital 
energy  of  Cleopatra  which  has  burned  so  irresistibly  through  the  whole 
play,  blazes  out  until  it  reaches  the  last  splendour  of  her  *  immortal 
longings  ',  and  her  final  *  Peace,  peace  ! '  with  the  baby  at  her  breast, 
*  That  sucks  the  nurse  asleep  '. 

The  almost  flawless  truth  of  this  play  is  then  the  measure  of  Shake 
speare's  power.  The  story  is  not  in  itself  beautiful :  the  characters 
are  not  beautiful  nor  even  pitiful.  Antony  and  Cleopatra  are  not  young 
lovers  :  they  have  both  been  faithless  in  their  time,  they  are  each  in 
sudden  moments  faithless  to  the  other,  and  worse  still,  they  wrongly 
judge  each  other  by  themselves.  He  is  profligate  and  weak  :  she  is 
cruel,  vain,  and  full  of  guile.  But  they  both  have  the  quality  which, 
for  want  of  leisure  to  define  it,  I  have  called  greatness  :  an  elevation, 
an  energy  of  the  soul  very  rare  among  men,  and  to  us  very  uplifting  to 
contemplate.  This  greatness  of  theirs  Shakespeare  has  been  able  to 
express  for  us,  because  he  himself  possessed  it :  by  the  mere  outbreathing 
of  it  he  created  them. 




THE  notices  of  Cawdor 's  treason  and  punishment  in  Macbeth 
present  some  well-known  difficulties. 

The  first  reference  to  him  occurs  when  Ross,  who  has  just  arrived 
in  hot  haste  from  Fife,  where  the  battle  took  place,  announces  (i.  ii.  50) : 

Norway  himself, 
With  terrible  numbers, 
Assisted  by  that  most  disloyal  traitor, 
The  Thane  of  Cawdor,  began  a  dismal  conflict. 

Duncan  presently  proceeds  (i.  ii.  63) : 

No  more  that  Thane  of  Cawdor  shall  deceive 

Our  bosom  interest:  go  pronounce  his  present  death, 

And  with  his  former  title  greet  Macbeth. 

Accordingly,  in  the  next  scene  (i.  iii.  105)  Ross  and  Angus  meet  Banquo 
and  Macbeth  on  the  heath,  and  tell  the  latter  of  his  new  dignity.  He  has 
already  been  perplexed  at  the  witches'  salutation  (i.  iii.  72) : 

How  of  Cawdor  ?  the  Thane  of  Cawdor  lives, 
A  prosperous  gentleman. 

And  now  he  bursts  out  with  the  same  incredulity  (i.  iii.  108) : 

The  Thane  of  Cawdor  lives:   why  do  you  dress  me 
In  borrow'd  robes? 

Angus  answers  (i.  iii.  109)  : 

Who  was  the  thane  lives  yet; 
But  under  heavy  judgement  bears  that  life 
Which  he  deserves  to  lose.     Whether  he  was  combined 
With  those  of  Norway,  or  did  line  the  rebel 
With  hidden  help  and  vantage,  or  that  with  both 
He  laboured  in  his  country's  wreck,  I  know  not: 
But  treasons  capital,  confess'd  and  proved, 
Have  overthrown  him. 

Finally  we  hear  of  the  culprit's  death.    Duncan  asks  (i.  iv.  i)  : 

Is  execution  done  on  Cawdor?    Are  not 
Those  in  commission  yet  return'd? 

M.  W.  MAcCALLUM  187 

Malcolm  replies  (i.  iv.  2) : 

My  liege, 

They  are  not  yet  come  back.    But  I  have  spoke 
With  one  that  saw  him  die;   who  did  report 
That  very  frankly  he  confess'd  his  treasons, 
Implored  your  highness'  pardon,  and  set  forth 
A  deep  repentance. 

Now  it  is  undoubtedly  odd  that  if  Cawdor  helped  Norway,  Ross 
should  know  of  it  while  Macbeth  did  not :  it  is  also  odd  that  after 
Ross's  definite  statement,  Angus  should  be  doubtful  whether  Cawdor 
had  helped  Macdonwald,  Norway,  or  both  ;  and  finally  it  is  odd  that 
Angus,  who  has  accompanied  Ross  on  his  mission,  should  be  able  to 
speak  of  Cawdor's  treasons  as  *  confess'd  and  proved  ',  when  we  are 
afterwards  told  that  the  traitor  made  his  penitential  confession  imme 
diately  before  his  execution. 

The  different  statements  certainly  do  not  at  the  first  glance  fit  into 
each  other  ;  still,  a  little  consideration  will  show  that  they  involve  no 
radical  contradiction,  but  only  need  to  be  expanded,  and  perhaps 

So  much  is  evident,  that  Cawdor  had  kept  his  disloyalty  secret. 
Even  Angus  speaks  of  the  *  hidden  help  and  vantage  '  he  afforded,  and 
at  the  very  moment  when  Ross,  with  haste  looking  through  his  eyes, 
tells  of  Cawdor 's  supporting  Norway  he  is  in  close  proximity  to  the 
king,  who  can  order  his  immediate  execution.  He  may  have  remained 
at  court  all  the  time,  keeping  up  appearances  as  long  as  he  could  and 
conducting  his  plots  through  agents.  At  any  rate,  since  he  did  not 
appear  openly  in  the  matter,  it  is  not  wonderful  that  Macbeth  should 
be  ignorant  of  his  treachery  ;  it  is  only  strange  that  Ross  should  know 
of  it.  But  after  all  he  might  hear  rumours  during  his  ride  from  Fife  to 
Forres.  Whence  could  these  rumours  come  ?  Possibly  from  informa 
tion  leaking  out  about  the  proceedings  taken  against  Cawdor  at  court, 
the  admissions  of  the  accused,  and  the  incriminating  evidence.  For 
surely  it  is  implied  that  he  has  been  on  trial  before  Duncan  commands 
or  sanctions  his  execution.  The  king's  words  seem  to  confirm  a  sen 
tence  that  has  come  as  the  conclusion  of  a  legal  examination  :  '  Go 
pronounce  his  present  death.'  That  would  be  gross  tyranny  if  its 
sole  ground  were  the  unsupported  statement  of  Ross,  and  if  Cawdor 's 
guilt  had  not  previously  been  investigated  :  and  such  tyranny  would 
be  peculiarly  incongruous  with  the  character  of  the  king,  who 


afterwards  receives  Macbeth 's  testimony  to  his  gentleness  and  justice 
(l.  vii.  16), 

This  Duncan 

Hath  borne  his  faculties  so  meek,  hath  been 
So  clear  in  his  great  office. 

It  is  far  more  probable  that  the  king  at  last  resolves  to  act  on  the  finding 
of  the  commission,  that  is  presently  referred  to  in  connexion  with  the 
execution  and  that,  we  may  suppose,  has  been  inquiring  into  the  case. 
That  *  very  frankly  he  confessed  his  treasons  *  on  the  eve  of  death  when 
solemnly  setting  forth  his  final  penitence  and  regrets,  need  not  mean 
that  Cawdor  had  made  no  admissions  before,  when  his  offences  were 
brought  home  to  him  at  the  trial,  and  that  therefore  Angus  could  not 
speak  of  his  *  treasons  capital,  confessed  and  proved  '. 

There  remains  only  the  difficulty  that  Ross  definitely  mentions 
Cawdor 's  help  of  Norway,  while  Angus  is  afterwards  doubtful  whether 
he  was  helping  Norway,  Macdonwald,  or  both  ;  but  that  may  be  due 
to  a  difference  in  the  reports  they  have  heard,  or  to  a  greater  or  less 
hastiness  of  belief  in  themselves.  Certainly  at  a  later  date  Ross  shows 
himself  rather  credulous  in  regard  to  chance  hearsay  ;  for  after  Duncan's 
murder,  when  Macduff  tells  him  that  the  flight  of  Malcolm  and  Donal- 
bain  (n.  iv.  26) : 

puts  upon  them 
Suspicion  of  the  deed. 

he  accepts  the  suspicion  as  proven  fact  without  a  moment's  hesitation 
(ii.  iv.  27)  : 

'Gainst  nature  still! 
Thriftless  ambition,  that  will  ravin  up 
Thine  own  life's  means! 

It  is  therefore  not  out  of  character  at  least  that  he  should  adopt  without 
criticism  the  first  version  of  Cawdor 's  practices  that  strikes  him  or  comes 
to  his  ears,  while  Angus  takes  into  account  various  possible  alternatives. 
If,  then,  we  piece  out  the  fragmentary  story  in  the  above  or  some 
such  way,  we  find  no  absolute  discrepancies  in  it,  though  a  good  deal 
that  wants  explanation.  That  being  so,  two  of  the  hypotheses  to 
account  for  the  apparent  difficulties  lose  their  force.  It  is  unnecessary 
to  suppose  with  some  that  Shakespeare,  having  antedated  the  Cawdor 
episode,  which  in  Holinshed  follows  considerably  later,  forgot  the 
bearings  of  his  own  alteration.  It  is  also  unnecessary  to  assume  with 
others  the  intervention  of  an  editor  who  distorted  the  original  plan  of 

M.  W.  MAcCALLUM  189 

the  play.  The  third  hypothesis,  that  the  existing  version  is  an  abridge 
ment  for  stage  purposes,  and  that  the  obscurity  arises  from  the  omission 
of  explanatory  passages  or  scenes,  is  to  a  certain  extent  confirmed.  Even 
in  regard  to  it,  however,  it  should  be  remembered  that  the  incident  is 
a  very  subordinate  one,  and  that  Shakespeare,  while  having  a  complete 
and  consistent  picture  of  it  in  his  own  mind,  may  well  have  considered 
it  sufficient  to  convey  it  only  in  isolated  jottings. 





IN  that  piece  of  subtle  psychology  and  eloquent  English,  On  the 
Knocking  at  the  Gate  in  Macbeth,  De  Quincey  tells  us  that  from  his 
boyish  days  he  had  been  puzzled  to  account  for  the  fact  that  the  knocking 
at  the  gates  *  reflected  back  upon  the  murderer  a  peculiar  awfulness  and 
a  depth  of  solemnity '.  His  understanding  said  positively  that  it  could 
not  produce  any  effect ;  but  in  spite  of  his  understanding  he  felt  that  it 
did.  The  Williams  murders  in  1812  gave  him  the  key  to  the  explana 
tion  ;  for  then  the  very  same  incident  of  a  knocking  occurred  after  the 
murder  of  the  Marrs.  De  Quincey 's  explanation  is  that  the  marvellous 
effect  of  the  terrific  murder  scene  depends  upon  a  contrast  between  the 
normal  human  nature,  *  the  divine  nature  of  love  and  mercy ',  and  the 
fiendish  nature  of  the  two  murderers.  The  dialogues  and  soliloquies 
convey  the  sense  that  the  human  nature  has  vanished  and  the  fiendish 
nature  has  taken  its  place  ;  and  the  effect  is  finally  consummated  by 
the  knocking  at  the  gate  ;  for  then  *  the  world  of  darkness  passes  away 
like  a  pageantry  in  the  clouds  ',  and  the  human  makes  its  reflux  upon  the 
fiendish.  It  is  at  the  meeting-point  of  the  two  worlds  that  the  contrast 
between  them  is  sharpest. 

The  question  whether  Shakespeare  took  the  hint  of  his  great  scene 
from  some  real  incident  such  as  that  which  occurred  in  the  murder  of 
the  Marrs,  or  invented  it  himself,  is  unimportant  as  well  as  insoluble. 
He  has  made  the  incident  and  the  principle  upon  which  it  rests  for  ever 
his  own ;  for  if  De  Quincey  afterwards  found  the  explanation  he  was 
led  to  it  by  the  light  which  Shakespeare  supplied.  My  purpose  is  not 
to  discuss  whether  Shakespeare  was  guided  to  his  principle  by  some 
specific  experience,  or  reached  it  through  the  exercise  of  his  own  facul 
ties,  but  simply  to  illustrate  by  further  examples  the  truth  which  was 
revealed  to  De  Quincey  by  the  crimes  of  Williams. 

Since  these  illuminating  crimes  at  least  two  very  striking  incidents 
have  occurred  to  attest  the  keenness  of  Shakespeare's  insight  and  the 
soundness  of  De  Quincey's  interpretation.  In  one  case  it  fortunately 


happened  that  a  poet,  though  a  poet  who  was  still  only  a  small  schoolboy, 
was  present.  In  A  Lark's  Flight,  perhaps  the  finest  essay  in  that  fine 
volume  Dreamthorp,  Alexander  Smith  relates  the  story  of  an  execution 
at  Glasgow  for  a  murder  which  was  committed  about  thirty  years  after 
the  Williams  murders.  The  essayist  skilfully  groups  the  incidents  of 
his  story — the  heedless  play  of  the  happy  little  boys  and  girls  on  the 
evening  preceding  the  execution,  its  sudden  interruption  by  the  arrival 
of  the  materials  for  the  scaffold  (it  was,  of  course,  the  day  of  public 
executions),  the  marshalling  of  the  little  army  of  horse,  foot,  and  artillery 
to  overawe  the  disorderly,  and  the  procession  of  the  two  doomed  Irish 
navvies  through  the  sunshine  of  a  May  morning.  Around  the  scaffold 
the  soldiers  had  kept  clear  a  wide  space  on  which  the  young  wheat  was 
springing,  and  just  when  the  men  appeared  beneath  the  beam  *  the 
incident,  so  simple,  so  natural,  so  much  in  the  ordinary  course  of  things, 
and  yet  so  frightful  in  its  tragic  suggestions,  took  place  '.  The  hush  of 
awe  had  fallen  upon  the  crowd.  *  Just  then,  out  of  the  grassy  space 
at  the  foot  of  the  scaffold,  in  the  dead  silence  audible  to  all,  a  lark  rose 
from  the  side  of  its  nest,  and  went  singing  upward  in  its  happy  flight. 
O  heaven  !  how  did  that  song  translate  itself  into  dying  ears  ?  Did  it  bring 
in  one  wild  burning  moment  father,  and  mother,  and  poor  Irish  cabin, 
and  prayers  said  at  bed-time,  and  the  smell  of  turf  fires,  and  innocent 
sweet-hearting,  and  rising  and  setting  suns  ?  Did  it — but  the  dragoon's 
horse  has  become  restive,  and  his  brass  helmet  bobs  up  and  down  and 
blots  everything,  and  there  is  a  sharp  sound  ;  and  I  feel  the  great  crowd 
heave  and  swing,  and  hear  it  torn  by  a  sharp  shiver  of  pity,  and  the  men 
whom  I  saw  so  near  but  a  moment  ago  are  at  immeasurable  distance, 
and  have  solved  the  great  enigma, — and  the  lark  has  not  yet  finished 
his  flight ;  you  can  see  and  hear  him  yonder  in  the  fringe  of  a  white 
May  cloud/ 

Simple,  natural,  in  the  ordinary  course  of  things,  yet  frightful 
indeed  in  its  tragic  suggestions  !  As  simple  as  the  knocking  at  the  gate, 
and  not  so  much  inferior  in  its  tragic  suggestions  ;  for,  in  face  of  *  the 
great  enigma  ',  what  is  the  difference  between  the  blood-stained  King  of 
Scotland  and  the  blood-stained  Irish  navvy  ?  Here  surely  is  independent 
evidence  to  the  keenness  of  Shakespeare's  insight  and  the  soundness 
of  De  Quincey's  interpretation.  Yet  the  knocking  at  the  gate  never 
occurred  to  Smith.  He  goes  on  to  give  illustrations  of  the  principle 
of  contrast ;  illustrations  from  history  and  from  literature  ;  but  not 
that  which  is  the  most  remarkable  of  all. 

A  century  has  passed  since  the  murders  which  so  profoundly 


impressed  De  Quincey  ;  a  crime  is  being  enacted  whose  crimson  horror 
makes  the  Williams  murders  pale  ;  and  once  more  we  find  that  the 
simplest  incident  in  nature  suffices  to  throw  into  startling  relief  its 
horror  and  its  guilt.  In  letters  from  the  trenches  men  betray  their  sense 
of  it,  never  suspecting  that  they  are  under  the  sway  of  a  principle  which 
it  took  the  greatest  of  poets  to  discover,  and  one  of  the  greatest  of  critics 
to  interpret. 

*  The  weather  for  the  last  week  has  been  gorgeous.  It  seems  such 
a  waste  of  time  trying  to  kill  other  people  when  the  sun  is  so  nice  and 
friendly/  wrote  one  man  last  September.  He  was  making  no  effort  to 
be  literary,  and  the  simplicity  of  his  language  makes  him  all  the  more 
impressive.  The  sun  is  *  so  nice  and  friendly ' — and  man,  when  the 
human  nature  is  utterly  withdrawn,  is  so  devilish.  Last  spring  a  group 
of  men  were  found  in  a  trench  with  tears  running  down  their  cheeks. 
There  was  no  apparent  cause,  and  when  the  discoverer  asked  an  explana 
tion  he  was  told  that  it  was  because,  in  the  intervals  of  the  crash  of 
artillery,  the  men  could  hear  the  birds  singing  in  the  bushes.  The 
note  of  spring  joy,  in  contrast  with  the  awful  tragedy  around,  overcame 
them.  These  men  were  not  poets,  like  Alexander  Smith,  but  they 
needed  only  to  be  human  in  order  to  feel,  like  him,  the  frightful  tragic 
suggestions  of  the  contrast  between  the  sun  *  so  nice  and  friendly  '  and 
the  song-bird  on  the  one  hand,  and,  on  the  other,  the  reign  of  murder 
and  sudden  death  around  them.  They  were  not,  like  Shakespeare, 
profound  psychologists,  but  for  that  very  reason  their  instinctive 
response  to  the  stimulus  which  he  knew  would  best  bring  home  to  the 
onlooker  the  nature  of  the  deed  is  all  the  more  instructive.  And  there 
may  be  other  criminals  besides  Macbeth  sighing  out  from  the  sorely 
charged  heart,  in  response  to  something  just  as  simple,  their 

Wake  Duncan  with  thy  knocking!    I  would  thou  couldst! 


J.  W.  MACKAIL  193 


IN  the  portraiture  of  Cloten  in  this  play  has  been  noted,  at  least  as 
far  back  as  Johnson,  what  seems  a  perplexing  inconsistency.  Repre 
sented  as  '  an  arrogant  piece  of  flesh  ',  *  a  brutal  and  brainless  fool ',  he 
is  yet  spoken  of  by  his  step-father  in  terms  of  warm  regard,  and  at  the 
beginning  of  the  scene  with  the  Roman  ambassador  he  appears  to  acquit 
himself  not  only  with  credit,  but  with  ability.  The  high  eloquence  of 

There  be  many  Caesars 
Ere  such  another  Julius.  Britain  is 
A  world  by  itself — 

is  not  the  language  of  *  an  ass  ','  a  thing  too  bad  for  bad  report ',  one 
who  *  cannot  take  two  from  twenty,  for  his  heart,  and  leave  eighteen  '. 

It  would  be  going  too  far  to  say  of  Shakespeare,  as  Shakespeare 
once  incautiously  said  of  Julius  Caesar  himself,  that  he  *  did  never 
wrong  but  with  just  cause  '.  But  very  often  things  in  Shakespeare  that 
we  stumble  at  would  be  quite  clear  if  we  took  more  pains  to  realize 
them  in  their  setting  and  context.  We  are  too  apt  to  read  detachedly, 
and  thus  to  miss  the  dramatic  value  of  speeches,  their  relevance  to  the 
dramatic  interplay  of  will  and  character.  It  is  essential  not  to  treat  any 
single  figure  in  the  plays,  or  any  single  thing  said,  as  isolated. 

The  queen,  Cloten 's  mother,  is  *  a  woman  that  bears  all  down 
with  her  brain  '.  She  has  won  her  position  by  no  sensuous  arts  of 
allurement,  but  by  sheer  capacity  and  adroitness.  Cymbeline  has  grown 
to  lean  on  her.  He  turns  habitually  to  her  for  good  advice  ;  and  he 
gets  it  from  her,  in  no  less  measure  than  he  gets  from  her  attention, 
deference,  and  all  the  outward  show  of  affection.  She,  on  her  side, 
does  not  care  for  him  at  all ;  her  mind  is  wholly  fixed,  not  on  personal 
ambition,  but  on  the  advancement  of  her  son.  Far  too  clever  herself  not 
to  realize  how  coarse-fibred  and  stupid  Cloten  is,  she  sets  herself  with 
infinite  skill  and  patience  to  cover  his  deficiencies  and  gloss  over  his  want 
of  manners  as  well  as  of  sense  and  decency.  She  succeeds  in  imposing 
him  on  her  husband,  though  not  on  the  court  generally  :  *  the  sole  son 


of  my  queen  ', '  our  dear  son ',  is  honestly  thought  by  Cymbeline,  under 
her  influence,  to  be  a  useful  and  even  necessary  adviser  in  matters  of 
state.  She  is  always  close  at  hand  to  coach  and  prompt  Cloten,  to 
excuse  or  explain  away  his  blunders  and  vicious  habits,  to  represent 
her  own  ability  and  foresight  as  his.  She  is  a  perfect  mother,  much  as 
Lady  Macbeth  is  a  perfect  wife.  To  her,  Cloten  is  not  wholly  un 
amenable,  and  he  has  a  sort  of  animal  affection  for  her  apart  from  the 
dominance  of  a  strong  and  subtle  over  a  weak  and  coarse  mind.  So  long 
as  she  can  keep  beside  or  close  behind  him  she  can  guide  him  fairly 
straight,  though  this  requires  perpetual  and  unrelaxing  vigilance  ;  but 
the  moment  her  hand  is  withdrawn,  he  shows  himself  the  fool  and 
brute  that  he  is. 

If  we  look  at  the  scene  with  the  Roman  ambassador  in  this  light, 
it  ceases  to  be  a  perplexity.  The  queen  has  prepared  a  speech  for  her 
son  with  elaborate  care,  such  as,  though  wholly  beyond  his  capacity, 
is  not  too  obviously  out  of  keeping  with  his  temperament.  She  has 
made  him  learn  it  by  heart,  and  is  ready  to  give  him  his  cue.  When 
the  time  comes,  she  gives  it,  in  the  words 

And,  to  kill  the  marvel, 
Shall  be  so  ever. 

Cloten  takes  it  up  : 

There  be  many  Caesars 
Ere  such  another  Julius.     Britain  is 
A  world  by  itself. 

But  then,  in  his  self-complacent  folly,  he  strikes  off  into  language  of 
his  own,  such  as  we  have  already  heard  him  use  with  the  two  lords  : 

And  we  will  nothing  pay 
For  wearing  our  own  noses. 

His  mother,  prepared  for  something  of  the  kind,  swiftly  and  adroitly 
breaks  in  before  he  has  made  a  complete  fool  of  himself  in  public.  His 
own  way  (we  see  it  throughout  the  scenes  in  which  he  appears)  is  to  get 
some  senseless  phrase  or  childish  misconception  (like  *  his  meanest 
garment '  in  the  scene  with  Imogen)  into  his  head,  and  go  on  fatuously 
repeating  it.  She  picks  up  what  she  had  told  him  to  say,  and  goes  on 
with  it  herself : 

That  opportunity, 

Which  then  they  had  to  take  from  's,  to  resume 
We  have  again: 

continuing  with  some  twenty  lines  of  real  if  slightly  turgid  eloquence. 
But  Cloten  is  intoxicated  with  his  own  importance  on  so  great  an  occa- 

J.  W.  MACKAIL  195 

sion,  and  will  not  be  lightly  silenced,  especially  as  he  has  not  yet  made 
the  most  of  Caesar's  nose.  At  her  first  pause,  he  breaks  in  : 

Come,  there 's  no  more  tribute  to  be  paid.  Our  kingdom  is  stronger  than  it  was  at 
that  time ;  and,  as  I  said,  there  is  no  more  such  Caesars ;  other  of  them  may  have 
crooked  noses,  but  to  owe  such  straight  arms,  none. 

This  is  all  his  own,  and  he  is  delighted  with  it.  Cymbeline  is  affronted 
and  shocked.  *  Son,  let  your  mother  end,'  he  says  sharply.  But  Cloten 
is  in  full  cry,  and  plunges  on  : 

We  have  yet  many  among  us  can  gripe  as  hard  as  Cassibelan  ;  I  do  not  say  I  am 
one,  but  I  have  a  hand.  Why  tribute  ?  why  should  we  pay  tribute  ?  If  Caesar  can 
hide  the  sun  from  us  with  a  blanket,  or  put  the  moon  in  his  pocket,  we  will  pay  him 
tribute  for  light ;  else,  sir,  no  more  tribute,  pray  you  now. 

The  queen  is  too  much  upset  and  mortified  to  intervene  again  ;  but 
Cymbeline  now  takes  matters  into  his  own  hands.  In  the  subsequent 
parting  scene  with  the  ambassador,  Cloten  has  clearly  had  instruc 
tions  to  hold  his  tongue.  His  share  in  the  conversation  is  confined 
to  one  short  sentence,  in  which  he  does  not  discredit  himself.  With 
all  his  arrogance  and  folly,  he  is  not  without  a  certain  rough  good 
humour  when  things  are  going  to  his  mind  and  he  is  not  crossed.  Not 
until,  after  Lucius  has  left,  the  news  of  Imogen's  flight  is  brought,  does 
he  relapse  into  his  customary  brutality. 

After  this  scene  the  queen  does  not  appear  again.  In  his  supreme 
act  of  self-originated  blundering,  Cloten  goes  off  on  his  fool's  errand 
to  Milford  alone,  without  telling  his  mother,  and  there  comes  by  his 
death.  The  next  we  hear  of  her  is  that  she  is  dangerously  ill ; 

A  fever  with  the  absence  of  her  son, 

A  madness,  of  which  her  life 's  in  danger. 

Cloten 's  disappearance  has  shattered  her  spider's  web  of  crime  and 
cunning.  For  his  sake  she  had  staked  everything.  She  had,  as  she 
thought,  disposed  of  Pisanio  by  poison.  She  had  made  up  her  mind 
that  Imogen,  *  except  she  bend  her  humour ',  shall  taste  of  the  drug  too. 
According  to  her  own  hysterical  death-bed  confession — if  it  is  to  be 
believed — she  was  preparing  a  *  mortal  mineral '  to  make  away  with 
Cymbeline  himself  when  once  she  had  *  worked  her  son  into  the  adoption 
of  the  crown '.  Her  son  vanished ;  all  this  fabric  of  ingenious  patient 
crime  went  to  wreckage  :  and  the  tigress-mother 

Failing  of  her  end  by  his  strange  absence, 
Grew  shameless-desperate ;  open'd,  in  despite 
Of  heaven  and  men,  her  purposes ;   repented 
The  evils  she  hatch'd  were  not  effected:  so, 
Despairing,  died. 


*  That  irregulous  devil ',  Imogen  calls  Cloten  in  her  agony.  '  O  delicate 
fiend  ! '  Cymbeline  exclaims  of  the  queen  when  the  truth  comes  out. 
For  Cloten 's  brainless  devilry  the  end  was  certain ;  for  *  it  is  the  fools 
who  are  paid  first '.  It  is  poetical  justice,  but  it  is  also  true  to  life. 
But  still  more  deeply  true  to  life  is  the  tragic  irony  of  his  mother's 
more  miserable  end.  She  perishes,  not  because  of  her  many  crimes, 
but  because  of  her  one  virtue  ;  not  because  her  own  craft  and  adroitness 
failed,  but  because  the  only  creature  whom  she  loved  failed  her.  One 
can  fancy,  if  they  rejoined  in  the  underworld,  that  her  thoughts  and 
plans  would  still  be  for  him,  and  that  they  would  still  come  to  the  same 
shipwreck.  Her  punishment  for  being  a  fiend  was  to  have  borne 
a  fool. 


A.  C.  BENSON  197 

THE  character  and  figure  of  Ariel  has  always  appeared  to  me  one  of 
the  most  strangely  typical  of  Shakespeare's  inventions,  a  creature  at 
first  carelessly  and  lightly  conceived,  a  useful  fairy,  with  all  the  virtues  of 
an  Orderly  !  But  Ariel  takes  shape  and  grows  under  the  writer's  hand, 
becoming  more  and  more  distinct,  a  separate  problem,  a  perfect  creation, 
gradually  embodied  and  realized  in  the  few  score  of  lines  devoted  to  the 
fantastic  and  sexless  little  being. 

At  first  sight  Ariel  is  a  mere  reflection  of  his  master,  with  a  taste 
for  high-piled  phrases,  such  as  on  Prospero's  lips  sound  loftily  enough  ; 
but  when  Ariel  indulges  in  them  are  like  the  bombastic  parody  of  a  child 
mimicking  its  elders. 

Jove's  lightnings,  the  precursors 
O'  the  dreadful  thunder-claps,  more  momentary 
And  sight-outrunning  were  not;  the  fire,  and  cracks 
Of  sulphurous  roaring,  the  most  mighty  Neptune 
Seem'd  to  besiege,  and  make  his  bold  waves  tremble, 
Yea,  his  dread  trident  shake. 

This  is  dull  rhetoric  at  best ! 

But  then  it  seems  that  Ariel  emerges  more  clearly  from  the  haze 
of  the  mind  ;  and  is  it  not  characteristic  of  Shakespeare  that  he  does  not 
return  and  revise,  but  lets  the  whole  conception  stand  on  the  page,  just 
as  it  was  set  down  ?  That  is  not  unlike  Shakespeare,  to  say  a  thing,  to 
remould  it  better,  and  yet  again  better,  and  to  leave  it  all  written,  exactly 
as  it  grew  up. 

There  comes  the  scene  when  Ariel  shows  a  childlike  petulance, 
followed  by  a  childlike  repentance  ;  and  at  that  point,  I  believe,  the 
delicate-limbed  beautiful  creature  sprang  out  in  Shakespeare's  mind.  It 
is  difficult  to  resist  a  movement  of  indignation  when  Prospero,  like 
a  cross-grained  old  schoolmaster,  browbeats  the  pretty  creature,  who 
stands  before  him  pouting,  methinks,  nibbling  a  rosy  thumb,  answering 
in  monosyllables,  and  glad  like  a  pet  dog  when  the  scolding  is  over. 

How  now  ?  moody  ? 
What  is't  thou  canst  demand? 


To  which  menace  says  Ariel,  looking  up  blue-eyed,  with  palms  pressed 

My  liberty! 

And  what  could  be  more  childlike,  when  he  has  promised  to  be  good, 
than  the  pretty  touch  of  eagerness  ? 

What  shall  I  do?    Say  what.     What  shall  I  do? 

When  the  scolding  begins  he  is  *  malignant  thing  ',  *  dull  thing  '.  As 
Prospero 's  mood  changes,  he  becomes  *  quaint ',  and  then,  as  the  play 
goes  on,  he  becomes  *  my  bird  ',  *  my  chick  ' ;  and  even  the  little  caged 
much-labouring,  much-enduring  spirit  wants  a  tender  word  : 

Do  you  love  me  master?    No? 

Three  of  Shakespeare's  loveliest  lyrics,  *  Come  unto  these  yellow  sands/ 
*  Full  fathom  five,'  '  Where  the  bee  sucks  '  (it  is  refreshing  even  to 
set  down  their  titles !),  are  put  into  Ariel's  mouth,  to  show  how  his 
maker  loves  the  delicate  spirit — three  lyrics,  of  which  I  can  only  say 
that  the  more  poetry  I  have  read,  and  even  written,  the  more  wholly 
inconceivable  to  me  is  the  process  by  which  such  strange  and  beautiful 
imagery  is  built  up.  Yet  even  so  there  is  a  touch  of  weakness  in  the 
sequel  of  the  first : 

The  strains  of  strutting  chanticleer 
Cry  Cock-a-diddle-dow. 

But  *  Full  fathom  five '  is  indeed  no  mortal  business  !  Could  an  ugly 
thing  be  so  transfigured  into  a  beautiful  mystery  more  speedily  ?  While 
in  *  Where  the  bee  sucks  ',  the  whole  heart  of  Ariel,  the  passionless  joy 
of  nature,  asking  nothing  but  a  sweet  continuance,  is  presented  free  of 
all  stain  of  human  emotion  or  regret ! 

Three  other  touches  in  the  Ariel  episode  have  a  special  interest. 
The  curious  touch  of  coarseness — which  I  confess  seems  to  me  a  real 
blunder,  if  it  were  not  Shakespeare's  blunder,  about  the  stench  of  the 
foul  pool  into  which  the  roysterers  had  been  led  ;  then  again  the  passage 
in  which  Ariel  pleads  for  pity  on  the  courtiers  in  their  sorrow, 

That  if  you  now  beheld  them,  your  affections 
Would  become  tender. 

4  Dost  thou  think  so,  spirit  ? '  says  Prospero,  surprised. 
1  Mine  would,  sir,  were  I  human,'  says  Ariel,  and  Prospero  replies, 
4  And  mine  shall.' 

I  suppose  the  incident  is  devised  to  shame  the  Sage  out  of  his 

A.  C.  BENSON  199 

extreme  severity,  and  it  leads  to  a  fine  speech  from  Prospero,  of  which 
the  drift  is  *  the  rarer  action  is  in  virtue  than  in  vengeance '.  A  moral 
device,  I  am  not  sure  whether  justified  ! 

And,  lastly,  there  is  the  scene  where  Ariel  again  takes  on  the  manner 
of  his  master,  and  tells  the  conspirators,  in  an  imposing  strain,  that 
nothing  can  save  them  from  their  sin,  *  nothing  but  heart-sorrow,  and 
a  clear  life  ensuing '.  That  we  may  be  sure  is  no  idea  of  Ariers  own, 
but  just  a  punctual  and  sympathetic  imagination  of  the  dignified  sort 
in  which  his  master  would  have  lectured  them. 

But  now  Ariel  is  free  at  last.  He  has  but  to  speed  the  homeward 
sails ; 

Then  to  the  elements ! 
Be  free,  and  fare  thou  well. 

He  is  to  be  free  *  as  mountain  winds ' ;  and  by  that  single  touch  Shake 
speare  brings  to  mind  a  wide  vision  of  breezes  wandering  in  sun-warmed 
silent  hill-spaces,  where  the  sheep  crop  the  grass,  and  the  bee  hums 
among  the  heather.  That  is  Ariers  reward.  And  in  this  the  art  of  the 
whole  conception  rises  into  a  mood  that  few  can  attain,  by  presenting 
the  wild  impulse  of  the  human  heart,  in  a  moment  of  anguish,  to  be  free 
from,  everything  alike,  not  only  from  suffering  and  sorrow,  but  from 
passion  and  emotion,  enrapturing  as  they  may  seem,  as  well  as  even  from 
righteousness  and  judgement.  To  be  sinless,  not  by  victory  and  hard- 
won  triumph,  but  by  soaring  away  from  the  whole  stern  and  fiery  strife 
of  motive  and  desire,  and  forgetting  that  such  things  have  ever  been. 

A.  C.  BENSON. 


O  2 



'But  whence  came  the  vision  of  the  enchanted  island  in  The  Tempest}    It  had  no 
existence  in  Shakespeare's  world,  but  was  woven  out  of  such  stuff  as  dreams  are  made  of.' 

From  '  Landscape  and  Literature ',  Spectator,  June  18,  I898.1 

MAY  I  cite  Malone's  suggestion  connecting  the  play  with  the  casting 
away  of  Sir  George  Somers  on  the  island  of  Bermuda  in  1609 ;  and, 
further,  may  I  be  allowed  to  say  how  it  seems  to  me  possible  that  the 
vision  was  woven  from  the  most  prosaic  material — from  nothing  more 
promising,  in  fact,  than  the  chatter  of  a  half -tipsy  sailor  at  a  theatre  ? 

A  stage-manager,  who  writes  and  vamps  plays,  moving  among  his 
audience,  overhears  a  mariner  discoursing  to  his  neighbour  of  a  grievous 
wreck,  and  of  the  behaviour  of  the  passengers,  for  whom  all  sailors  have 
ever  entertained  a  natural  contempt.  He  describes,  with  the  wealth  of 
detail  peculiar  to  sailors,  measures  taken  to  claw  the  ship  off  a  lee-shore, 
how  helm  and  sails  were  worked,  what  the  passengers  did,  and  what  he 
said.  One  pungent  phrase — to  be  rendered  later  into  :  *  What  care 
these  brawlers  for  the  name  of  King  ? ' — strikes  the  manager's  ear,  and 
he  stands  behind  the  talkers.  Perhaps  only  one-tenth  of  the  earnestly 
delivered,  hand-on-shoulder  sea- talk  was  actually  used  of  all  that  was 
automatically  and  unconsciously  stored  by  the  inland  man  who  knew 
all  inland  arts  and  crafts.  Nor  is  it  too  fanciful  to  imagine  a  half- turn 
to  the  second  listener,  as  the  mariner,  banning  his  luck  as  mariners  will, 
says  there  are  those  who  would  not  give  a  doit  to  a  poor  man  while  they 
will  lay  out  ten  to  see  a  raree-show — a  dead  Indian.  Were  he  in 
foreign  parts,  as  now  he  is  in  England,  he  could  show  people  something 
in  the  way  of  strange  fish.  Is  it  to  consider  too  curiously  to  see  a  drink 
ensue  on  this  hint  (the  manager  dealt  but  little  in  his  plays  with  the  sea 
at  first-hand,  and  his  instinct  for  new  words  would  have  been  waked 
by  what  he  had  already  caught),  and  with  the  drink  a  sailor's  minute 
description  of  how  he  went  across  through  the  reefs  to  the  island  of  his 

1  The  reply  to  this  statement,  here  reprinted,  appeared  in  The  Spectator •,  in  the  form 
of  a  letter,  on  July  2,  i«r 


calamity — or  islands  rather,  for  there  were  many?  Some  you  could 
almost  carry  away  in  your  pocket.  They  were  sown  broadcast  like — 
like  the  nutshells  on  the  stage  there.  *  Many  islands,  in  truth/  says 
the  manager  patiently,  and  afterwards  his  Sebastian  says  to  Antonio  : 
'  I  think  he  will  carry  the  island  home  in  his  pocket  and  give  it  to  his  son 
for  an  apple.'  To  which  Antonio  answers  :  *  And  sowing  the  kernels 
of  it  in  the  sea,  bring  forth  more  islands.' 

'  But  what  was  the  land  like  ? '  says  the  manager.  The  sailor  tries 
to  explain.  *  It  was  green,  with  yellow  in  it ;  a  tawny-coloured  coun 
try  ' — the  colour,  that  is  to  say,  of  the  coral-beached,  cedar-covered 
Bermuda  of  to-day — *  and  the  air  made  one  sleepy,  and  the  place  was 
full  of  noises  ' — the  muttering  and  roaring  of  the  sea  among  the  islands 
and  between  the  reefs — '  and  there  was  a  sou '-west  wind  that  blistered 
one  all  over '.  The  Elizabethan  mariner  would  not  distinguish  finely 
between  blisters  and  prickly  heat ;  but  the  Bermudian  of  to-day  will 
tell  you  that  the  sou '-west,  or  lighthouse,  wind  in  summer  brings  that 
plague  and  general  discomfort.  That  the  coral  rock,  battered  by  the 
sea,  rings  hollow  with  strange  sounds,  answered  by  the  winds  in  the 
little  cramped  valleys,  is  a  matter  of  common  knowledge. 

The  man,  refreshed  with  more  drink,  then  describes  the  geography 
of  his  landing-place — the  spot  where  Trinculo  makes  his  first  appear 
ance.  He  insists  and  reinsists  on  details  which  to  him  at  one  time 
meant  life  or  death,  and  the  manager  follows  attentively.  He  can  give 
his  audience  no  more  than  a  few  hangings  and  a  placard  for  scenery, 
but  that  his  lines  shall  lift  them  beyond  that  bare  show  to  the  place  he 
would  have  them,  the  manager  needs  for  himself  the  clearest  possible 
understanding — the  most  ample  detail.  He  must  see  the  scene  in  the 
round — solid — ere  he  peoples  it.  Much,  doubtless,  he  discarded,  but 
so  closely  did  he  keep  to  his  original  informations  that  those  who  go 
to-day  to  a  certain  beach  some  two  miles  from  Hamilton  will  find  the 
stage  set  for  Act  II,  Sc.  ii,  of  The  Tempest — a  bare  beach,  with  the  wind 
singing  through  the  scrub  at  the  land's  edge,  a  gap  in  the  reefs  wide 
enough  for  the  passage  of  Stephano's  butt  of  sack,  and  (these  eyes  have 
seen  it)  a  cave  in  the  coral  within  easy  reach  of  the  tide,  whereto  such 
a  butt  might  be  conveniently  rolled  ('  My  cellar  is  in  a  rock  by  the  sea 
side,  where  my  wine  is  hid  ').  There  is  no  other  cave  for  some  two  miles. 
*  Here's  neither  bush  nor  shrub  ; '  one  is  exposed  to  the  wrath  of  *  yond' 
same  black  cloud ',  and  here  the  currents  strand  wreckage.  It  was  so 
well  done  that,  after  three  hundred  years,  a  stray  tripper,  and  no  Shake 
speare  scholar,  recognized  in  a  flash  that  old  first  set  of  all. 


So  far  good.  Up  to  this  point  the  manager  has  gained  little  except 
some  suggestions  for  an  opening  scene,  and  some  notion  of  an  uncanny 
island.  The  mariner  (one  cannot  believe  that  Shakespeare  was  mean 
in  these  little  things)  is  dipping  to  a  deeper  drunkenness.  Suddenly 
he  launches  into  a  preposterous  tale  of  himself  and  his  fellows,  flung 
ashore,  separated  from  their  officers,  horribly  afraid  of  the  devil-haunted 
beach  of  noises,  with  their  heads  full  of  the  fumes  of  broached  liquor. 
One  castaway  was  found  hiding  under  the  ribs  of  a  dead  whale  which 
smelt  abominably.  They  hauled  him  out  by  the  legs — he  mistook  them 
for  imps — and  gave  him  drink.  And  now,  discipline  being  melted,  they 
would  strike  out  for  themselves,  defy  their  officers,  and  take  possession 
of  the  island.  The  narrator's  mates  in  this  enterprise  were  probably 
described  as  fools.  He  was  the  only  sober  man  in  the  company. 

So  they  went  inland,  faring  badly  as  they  staggered  up  and  down 
this  pestilent  country.  They  were  pricked  with  palmettoes,  and  the 
cedar  branches  rasped  their  faces.  Then  they  found  and  stole  some  of 
their  officers'  clothes  which  were  hanging  up  to  dry.  But  presently 
they  fell  into  a  swamp,  and,  what  was  worse,  into  the  hands  of  their 
officers  ;  and  the  great  expedition  ended  in  muck  and  mire.  Truly  an 
island  bewitched.  Else  why  their  cramps  and  sickness  ?  Sack  never 
made  a  man  more  than  reasonably  drunk.  He  was  prepared  to  answer 
for  unlimited  sack ;  but  what  befell  his  stomach  and  head  was  the  purest 
magic  that  honest  man  ever  met. 

A  drunken  sailor  of  to-day  wandering  about  Bermuda  would  prob 
ably  sympathize  with  him  ;  and  to-day,  as  then,  if  one  takes  the  easiest 
inland  road  from  Trinculo's  beach,  near  Hamilton,  the  path  that  a 
drunken  man  would  infallibly  follow,  it  ends  abruptly  in  swamp.  The 
one  point  that  our  mariner  did  not  dwell  upon  was  that  he  and  the 
others  were  suffering  from  acute  alcoholism  combined  with  the  effects 
of  nerve-shattering  peril  and  exposure.  Hence  the  magic.  That 
a  wizard  should  control  such  an  island  was  demanded  by  the  beliefs  of 
all  seafarers  of  that  date. 

Accept  this  theory,  and  you  will  concede  that  The  Tempest  came  to 
the  manager  sanely  and  normally  in  the  course  of  his  daily  life.  He 
may  have  been  casting  about  for  a  new  play  ;  he  may  have  purposed  to 
vamp  an  old  one — say,  Aurelio  and  Isabella  ;  or  he  may  have  been  merely 
waiting  on  his  demon.  But  it  is  all  Prosperous  wealth  against  Caliban's 
pignuts  that  to  him  in  a  receptive  hour,  sent  by  heaven,  entered  the 
original  Stephano  fresh  from  the  seas  and  half-seas  over.  To  him 
Stephano  told  his  tale  all  in  one  piece,  a  two  hours'  discourse  of  most 


glorious  absurdities.  His  profligate  abundance  of  detail  at  the  begin 
ning,  when  he  was  more  or  less  sober,  supplied  and  surely  established 
the  earth-basis  of  the  play  in  accordance  with  the  great  law  that  a  story 
to  be  truly  miraculous  must  be  ballasted  with  facts.  His  maunderings 
of  magic  and  incomprehensible  ambushes,  when  he  was  without 
reservation  drunk  (and  this  is  just  the  time  when  a  lesser-minded  man 
than  Shakespeare  would  have  paid  the  reckoning  and  turned  him 
out),  suggested  to  the  manager  the  peculiar  note  of  its  supernatural 

Truly  it  was  a  dream,  but  that  there  may  be  no  doubt  of  its  source 
or  of  his  obligation,  Shakespeare  has  also  made  the  dreamer  immortal. 




ASSUMING  that  Van  Buchell's  drawing  of  the  Swan  playhouse  was 
copied,  by  one  who  had  never  seen  such  a  building,  from  a  sketch  made 
on  the  spot  by  a  curious  foreigner,  who  was  not  a  skilled  draughtsman, 
let  us  try  to  reconstruct  the  scene  which  presented  itself  to  the  eyes  of 
De  Witt.  He  sat  in  the  second  gallery,  somewhat  to  the  right  of  the 
centre,1  for,  though  he  drew  the  platform  as  though  he  were  occupying 
a  seat  exactly  midway,  he  drew  the  tiring-house  as  he  saw  it,  and  showed 
plainly  the  right  wall  of  the  topmost  story.  In  the  face  of  the  tiring- 
house  two  doors  open  upon  the  stage.  That  on  the  right  is  the  larger 
and  is  given  greater  detail  than  its  fellow,  perhaps  as  the  result  of  an 
attempt  to  show  in  perspective  two  doors  of  equal  size.  Similarly,  in 
the  top  story  the  nearer  window  appears  the  wider.  The  stage  extends 
to  the  middle  of  the  yard.  The  artist  drew  his  circular  yard  as  an  oval, 
much  as  he  saw  it,  and  then  drew  through  its  centre  the  horizontal 
straight  line  which  represents  the  front  edge  of  the  stage.  The  blocks 
or  piles  visible  below  the  stage  may  be  the  supports  of  a  movable  plat 
form,  but,  if  so,  they  appear  too  large  and  clumsy  and  yet  numerically 
insufficient  for  support  of  so  broad  a  floor.  Possibly  De  Witt  meant 
to  indicate  from  hearsay  the  bases  of  the  pillars.  These  pillars  are  placed 
to  conform  with  the  imaginary  direct  view  of  the  platform,  but  the 
shadow  (or  heavens)  is  necessarily  drawn  in  part  to  match  the  actual 
oblique  view  of  the  top  story.  One  supposes  that  Van  Buchell,  puzzled 
by  inconsistency  in  the  original  rough  sketch,  and  trying  to  give  definite- 
ness  to  the  lines  and  to  make  them  fit  his  ideas  of  propriety,  introduced 
further  confusion.  At  the  top  the  shadow  turns  the  corner  and  runs 
back  to  the  galleries  ;  yet  at  the  bottom  a  straight  horizontal  line  runs 
the  width  of  the  stage,  and  beneath  this  line  are  the  pillars  symmetrically 
placed.  Result — the  right  pillar  is  under  the  side  plane  of  the  roof,  and 
the  left  under  the  front  plane.  In  De  Witt's  sketch  the  right  pillar  must 

1  Wegener,  ii. 


have  stood  apparently,  through  effect  of  perspective,  nearer  the  centre, 
obscuring  a  good  deal  of  that  end  of  the  tiring-house  wall,  while  to  the 
right  of  the  pillar  the  roof  receded  to  the  galleries.  The  angle  formed 
by  the  two  lower  roof-edges  was  on  a  level  with  our  spectator's  eye,  and 
his  line  of  the  eaves  was  so  nearly  straight  that  it  deceived  Van  Buchell. 
A  line,  heavier  and  straight er  than  its  fellows,  runs  slantwise  down  the 
roof,  a  little  to  the  left  of  the  corner.  Though  not  quite  rightly  placed, 
it  represents  the  division  between  the  two  planes,  and  accordingly  the 
portion  to  the  right  of  it  is  shaded — carelessly  and  without  decision, 
because  Van  Buchell  did  not  realize  why  any  shade  should  be  there. 
It  is  likely  that  the  upper  stories  of  the  tiring-house  projected,  so  that 
aerial  descents  could  be  made  directly  from  the  overhanging  floor  of  the 
room  above  which  the  trumpeter  stands,  or  even  from  the  topmost 
chamber  ;  it  is  significant,  in  this  connexion,  that  the  front  roof  is  not 
so  extensive  as  the  position  of  the  pillars  would  lead  us  to  expect.  That 
the  lines  marking  the  bases  of  the  pillars  upon  the  platform  are  half-way 
between  the  stage-front  edge  and  the  upper  part  of  the  pit  circumference 
may  indicate  that  rather  more  than  half  the  stage-depth  was  covered  by 
the  heavens  and  the  tiring-house. 

Along  the  front  of  the  balcony  runs  a  projecting  ledge,  with  a  row 
of  small  pillars  at  its  inner  brink,  and  beneath  it  is  a  horizontal  line 
sufficiently  thick  to  indicate  the  shadow.  The  projection  may  have  been 
two  or  three  feet  in  depth,  and  the  ledge  has  probably  a  forward  slope, 
for  no  stays  are  visible  beneath  it.  It  is  similar  to  the  ledge  beneath  the 
balcony  of  the  Messalina  stage,  though  it  is  not  quite  in  the  same  position, 
and  most  likely  curtains  were  sometimes  suspended  from  its  outer  edge 
so  as  to  form  a  recess  or  cloister  for  concealments  and  '  inner  scenes',  or 
to  provide  additional  entrances. 

With  pillars  and  stage  placed  as  they  are,  any  representation  of 
a  lateral  wall  to  the  lower  stories  of  the  tiring-house  must  have  appeared 
to  Van  Buchell  a  result  of  bad  drawing.  He  believed  that  the  three 
lower  stories  ran  straight  across  the  full  width  of  the  stage  ;  but,  if  he 
was  right,  the  lower  stories  were  broader  than  the  topmost  story,  which 
rose  as  a  turret  from  one  side  of  the  structure.  Really,  the  breadth  of  the 
tiring-house  was  the  same  from  stage  to  roof,  and  there  was  an  equal 
space,  on  either  side,  between  the  lateral  wall  and  the  edge  of  the  plat 
form.  A  downward  extension  of  the  vertical  bounding  lines  of  the  front 
wall  in  the  top  story  shows  approximately  where  the  angles  of  the  lower 
part  of  the  wall  should  be.  The  line  on  the  left  falls  behind  the  pillar  ; 
the  corner  is  not  visible.  On  the  other  side  the  effect  has  been  vitiated 


by  Van  Buchell's  shifting  of  the  pillar,  but,  even  so,  there  is  a  slight 
indication  that  De  Witt  may  have  shown  the  angle  with  some  distinct 
ness.  Slightly  to  left  of  the  pillar  a  vertical  line  is  drawn  almost  across 
the  ledge,  just  below  a  heavy  line  which  runs  from  top  to  bottom  through 
the  shadow  in  the  balcony,  and  thence  to  the  right  the  upper  and  lower 
lines  of  the  ledge  have  a  slight  downward  slope.  The  slope  is  not  in 
accord  with  laws  of  perspective,  but  it  seems  to  betray  intention  to  show 
a  turn  of  the  ledge  towards  the  rear  of  the  stage,  similar  to  that  of  the 
Messalina  print.  One  result  of  Van  Buchell's  error  is  that  the  balcony 
window  on  the  extreme  right  is  wider  than  any  of  the  others ;  and  if 
this  were  the  result  of  perspective,  the  whole  row  would  diminish 
regularly  from  right  to  left.  The  right-hand  door  appears  to  be  farther 
from  the  edge  of  the  stage  than  that  on  the  left,  and  this  too  may  have 
resulted  from  a  misunderstanding  of  the  shape  of  the  tiring-house. 
The  position  of  the  adjusted  pillar  prevents  our  seeing  if  there  were  any 
doors  in  the  side- walls  of  the  tiring-house,  but  a  study  of  stage-directions 
convinces  one  that  doors  opened  somewhere  upon  the  lateral  passages. 
A  comparison  of  Visscher's  view  with  Van  Buchell's  drawing  shows  that 
the  sides  of  the  Swan's  tiring-house  were  at  right  angles  to  the  front,  and 
did  not  slope  towards  the  rear  corners  of  the  stage  in  the  fashion  deter 
mined  by  space  conditions  in  some  private  playhouses. 

Van  Buchell  indicates  no  pit  entrance,  so  we  surmise  that  it  was 
in  that  portion  of  the  building  which  he  has  not  drawn.  A  comparison 
of  Visscher's  drawing  and  the  rough  plan  in  the  Manor  Map  of  Paris 
Garden  shows,  on  the  side  next  the  street  and  farthest  from  the  stage, 
a  rectangular  structure,  which  must  be  a  porch  or  a  roofed  staircase 
leading  to  the  main  door.  From  the  Hope  contract  we  learn  that  there 
were  *  two  stearcasses  without  and  adioyninge  to  '  the  Swan.  The 
second  of  these  was,  I  think,  at  the  tiring-house  door,  but  it  does  not 
appear  in  the  Manor  Map.  Perhaps  it  had  been  removed  before  the 
survey  was  made. 



W.  J.  LAWRENCE  207 



NOTHING,  perhaps,  is  better  calculated  to  give  a  distorted  impres 
sion  of  the  truth  than  the  device  of  our  stage  historians  in  dividing  up 
the  story  of  the  rise  and  progress  of  the  English  Theatre  into  water 
tight  compartments.  Goethe's  sound  apophthegm  that  the  law  of  life  is 
continuity  amidst  change  applies  with  equal  force  to  institutions  as  to 
men,  and  to  no  institution  more  fittingly  than  to  the  playhouse.  One 
has  only  to  look  closely  at  the  facts  to  find  that,  even  in  the  seventeenth 
century,  despite  the  disruptive  tendency  of  the  Civil  War  and  the 
Commonwealth,  there  was  in  matters  of  theatrical  routine  very  con 
siderable  overlapping.  Perhaps  the  reason  for  this  is  best  expressed  in 
the  words  of  the  old  Chinese  proverb,  *  the  Useful  struggles  vainly  with 
Time,  but  the  devourer  of  all  things  breaks  his  teeth  upon  the  Agree 
able  '.  While  the  Restoration  playgoer,  like  the  playgoer  of  every  other 
age  and  clime,  was  neither  lacking  in  initiative  nor  idiosyncrasy,  it 
is  certain  that  some  of  his  observances  were  the  cherished  relics  of 
a  former  day. 

Even  if  our  knowledge  went  no  further,  we  should  be  compelled  to 
arrive  at  this  conclusion  to  account  for  the  steady  persistence  of  a  curious 
custom,  evidently  the  source  of  much  disorder  and  as  such  constantly 
fulminated  against  by  Charles  II.  This  amounted  to  a  quaint  applica 
tion  of  the  old  English  principle  of  the  right  of  way,  a  principle  almost 
part  and  parcel  of  the  British  constitution  and  still  on  occasion  vigor 
ously  maintained.  No  fewer  than  five  times  between  the  years  1663 
and  1674  *  old  Rowley '  iterated  an  order  forbidding  playgoers  to 
exercise  *  theire  pretended  priviledge  by  custom  of  forcing  their  entrance 
at  the  fourth  or  fifth  acts  without  payment '.  Long  existent,  indeed, 
must  have  been  the  privilege  so  stubbornly  upheld  in  the  face  of  the 
royal  displeasure.  It  will  not  be  unprofitable  to  inquire  how  it  originated, 
and  what  traces  remain  of  its  usage  in  pre-Restoration  times. 


My  impression  is  that  the  custom  had  its  origin,  not  with  any 
desire  of  suiting  the  convenience  of  the  public,  but  as  a  mere  matter 
of  theatrical  expediency.  It  was  usual  in  Shakespeare's  early  day  to 
hang  up  in  the  tiring-house  for  the  guidance  of  the  stage-keeper  an 
entrance-and-music  plot  of  the  play,  so  that  he  might  know  when 
to  send  on  the  supers  or  give  instructions  for  the  flourishing  of  trum 
pets  or  the  rattling  of  thunder.  Seven  of  these  plots,  or  platts  as 
they  were  then  called,  still  exist,  some  of  them  preserved  at  Dulwich 
College  and  some  in  the  British  Museum  Manuscript  Room.  Owing 
to  a  misconception  on  the  part  of  the  old  commentators,  who  arrived 
at  the  conclusion  that  they  were  scenarios  for  improvised  plays,  after 
the  manner  of  the  canevas  of  the  Italian  commedia  delV  arte,  the 
reason  for  their  provision  has  long  been  obscured.  So  far  from  their 
employment  being  so  rare,  there  is  no  room  for  doubting  that,  in  Eliza 
bethan  days,  one  of  these  platts  was  made  for  every  acted  play.  Without 
their  aid  the  stage-keeper  would  have  been  all  at  sea. 

In  examining  the  *  Platt  of  Frederick  and  Basilea'  (i.e.  of  a  play 
performed  at  the  Rose  Theatre  on  June  3,  1597)  Steevens  was  mightily 
puzzled  to  know  who  were  the  *  gatherers '  who  came  on  as  supers  at 
a  certain  juncture  of  the  performance.  Longo  intervallo,  Collier  threw 
light  on  the  mystery  in  pointing  out  that  *  the  gatherers  were  those  who 
gathered  or  collected  the  money,  and  who,  during  the  performance, 
after  all  the  spectators  were  arrived  and  when  their  services  were  no 
longer  needed  at  the  doors  were  required  to  appear  on  the  stage '.  Excep 
tion  has  been  taken  to  this  interpretation  on  the  ground  that  the  gatherers 
were  those  who  collected  money  from  the  assembled  audience,  not  the 
money-takers  at  the  doors,  but  there  is  no  reason  to  believe  the  term  had 
so  restricted  a  meaning.  Dekker  shows  otherwise  when  he  gives  the 
instruction,  in  his  chapter  on  *  How  a  Gallant  should  behave  himself 
in  a  Playhouse '  in  The  Guh  Horn-Booke,  '  whether  therefore  the 
gatherers  of  the  publique  or  private  Playhouse  stand  to  receive  the 
afternoones  rent,  let  our  Gallant  (having  paid  it)  presently  advance 
himselfe  up  to  the  Throne  of  the  Stage  *. 

Collier's  explanation,  however,  is  too  sweeping,  inasmuch  as  it  is 
not  in  reason  to  infer  that  the  door-keepers  would  be  free  for  stage 
employment  once  the  performance  began,  much  as  the  players  might  be 
desirous  of  minimizing  the  expense  of  hirelings  by  pressing  them  into 
service.  Late-comers  there  always  were  and  always  will  be.  It  is 
more  rational  to  infer  that  the  gatherers  were  only  employed  when  all 
the  normal  resources  of  the  theatre  were  exhausted  and  larger  crowds 

rite  t  Lvu-ern* '/ft&Ma.fla.  'fiferrt:  'TtfYJnt.n(lv.mL: 

W.  J.  LAWRENCE  209 

than  usual  had  to  go  on.  Happily  the  necessary  qualification  of  Collier's 
statement  is  afforded  by  the  *  Platt  of  Frederick  and  Basilea  '  itself. 
Unfortunately,  unlike  some  of  the  others,  this  platt  has  no  indication 
of  act-divisions,  but  there  are  in  all  eighteen  grouped  entries  of  the 
characters  and  their  attendants,  and  the  first  reference  to  the  gatherers 
occurs  in  the  ninth  entry.  At  this  juncture  in  the  performance  the  play 
must  have  been  at  least  half  over,  possibly  more,  as  the  entrances  never 
occurred  at  regular  intervals  and  often  grew  more  frequent  towards  the 
close.  Few  playgoers  would  desire  access  to  the  theatre  after  a  couple 
of  acts  had  been  given  and,  viewing  the  utility  of  the  gatherers  as  extra 
auxiliaries,  there  would  be  great  temptation  to  leave  the  doors  unguarded. 
As  a  matter  of  fact,  there  is  a  passage  in  Braith waite's  Whimsies  (1631), 
describing  a  rufHer,  which  indicates  a  considerable  slackening  of 
vigilance  once  the  play  had  got  fairly  under  way : 

*  To  a  play  they  wil  hazard  to  go,  though  with  never  a  rag  of  money : 
where  after  the  second  act,  when  the  doore  is  weakly  guarded,  they  will 
make  forcible  entrie  ;  a  knock  with  a  cudgell  as  the  worst ;  whereat 
though  they  grumble,  they  rest  pacified  upon  their  admittance.  Forth 
with,  by  violent  assault  and  assent,  they  aspire  to  the  two-pennie 
roome,  where  being  furnished  with  tinder,  match,  and  a  portion  of 
decayed  Barmoodas,  they  smoake  it  most  terribly,  applaud  a  prophane 
jeast,  etc/ 

When  we  learn  here  that  those  who  went  to  the  play  in  1631  after 
the  second  act,  without  the  necessary  admission  money  but  with  plenty 
of  assurance,  had  little  difficulty  in  forcing  their  way  into  the  house, 
it  is  not  surprising  to  find  that  a  score  of  years  previously  the  doors  were 
left  entirely  unguarded  after  the  termination  of  the  fourth  act.  At  that 
period  the  privilege  of  free  entry  towards  the  end  led  to  much  riot  and 
disorder,  and  culminated  in  magisterial  interference.  At  the  General 
Session  of  the  Peace  held  at  Westminster  in  October  1612,  an  order  was 
issued  forbidding  all  *  Jigges,  Rymes  and  Daunces  '  at  the  close  of  all 
performances  within  the  jurisdiction.  This  was  justified  by  the  finding 
that  *  by  reason  of  certayne  lewde  Jigges,  songes  and  daunces  used  and 
accustomed  at  the  playhouse  called  the  Fortune  in  Goulding  lane  divers 
cutt-purse  and  other  lewde  and  ill-disposed  persons  in  great  multitudes 
doe  resorte  thither  at  the  end  of  everye  playe  many  tymes  causinge 
tumultes  and  outrages  whereby  His  Majesties  peace  is  often  broke  and 
much  mischiefe  like  to  ensue  thereby '. 

This  statement  positively  demands  the  assumption  that  the  privilege 
of  free  entry  at  the  end  of  the  fourth  act  was  already  in  vogue.  Why 


should  the  crowds  have  flocked  to  the  Fortune  at  the  close  of  the  play 
if  they  still  had  to  pay  the  ordinary  price  of  admission  ?  They  might  as 
well  have  gone  early  and  got  full  value  for  their  money.  The  truth  is 
that,  the  doors  being  left  unguarded,  some  took  advantage  of  the  privi 
lege  to  see  the  jig  gratis  and  others  swelled  the  crowd  to  indulge  in 
pocket-picking.  Whether  or  not  the  order  applied  to  the  Bankside 
theatres — I  should  say  not — it  by  no  means  wrote  finis  to  the  records 
of  the  jig.  One  finds  traces  of  its  existence  twenty  years  later.  As 
much  misconception  prevails  as  to  the  nature  of  the  Elizabethan  stage 
jig,  it  may  be  pointed  out  that  it  was  a  ballad  farce  of  a  free  order  in 
which  the  rhymed  dialogue  was  all  sung  to  a  variety  of  popular  airs. 
It  comprised  at  most  but  three  or  four  characters  and  seldom  took  more 
than  twenty  minutes  to  perform.  A  fact  known  to  few  people  is  that 
some  of  the  old  jigs  are  still  extant. 

One  would  be  hardly  warranted  in  dogmatizing  over  the  order  of  the 
Westminster  Justices  of  the  Peace  were  it  not  that  clear  evidence  of  the 
existence  of  the  privilege  of  entry  after  the  fourth  act,  before  the  Civil 
War,  is  ready  to  hand.  One  item  occurs  in  a  poem  entitled  *  The  Long 
Vacation  in  London ',  first  published  in  the  posthumous  folio  collection 
of  Sir  William  D'Avenant's  works  in  1673,  but  written  many  years 
earlier.  The  minor  poems  in  this  volume,  including  the  above,  some 
of  them  dated,  are  arranged  chronologically ;  and  it  is  not  difficult  to 
arrive  at  the  conclusion  that  the  poem  referred  to  was  written  between 
1632  and  1639.  Even  if  the  lines  had  come  down  to  us  only  in  manu 
script,  we  should  still  be  able  to  determine  that  they  were  written  before 
the  closing  of  the  theatres,  for  they  refer  to  the  Globe  as  in  active  service, 
and  the  Globe  disappeared  for  ever  in  1644.  Armed  with  the  clue,  there 
is  no  mistaking  the  import  of  the  following  : 

Then  forth  he  steales ;   to  Globe  doth  run ; 
And  smiles,  and  vowes  Four  Acts  are  done: 
Finis  to  bring  he  does  protest 
Tells  ev'ry  Play'r,  his  part  is  best. 

One  other  allusion  shows  that  the  privilege  was  still  being  availed 
of  at  a  slightly  later  period.  It  occurs  in  The  Guardian  of  Cowley, 
a  comedy  originally  performed  before  Prince  Charles  at  Trinity  College, 
Cambridge,  on  March  12,  1640-1.  In  Act  III,  Sc.  i,  Aurelea  says  to 
her  tormentor,  *  Be  abandoned  by  all  men  above  a  Tapster  ;  and  not 
dare  to  looke  a  Gentleman  i'  the  face  ;  unless  perhaps  you  sneake  into 
a  Playhouse,  at  the  fifth  act '. 

W.  J.  LAWRENCE  211 

Habits,  we  know,  are  stubborn  things,  but  all  the  same  it  is  remark 
able  that  a  privilege  arising  out  of  special  circumstances  in  Shakespeare's 
day  should  have  long  survived  the  necessity  which  called  it  into  being, 
jumped  the  formidable  barrier  of  the  Commonwealth,  and  run  a  vigorous 
race  over  stony  ground  until  the  end  of  the  third  quarter  of  the  seven 
teenth  century. 





'  WHAT  is  Wit  ?  What  is  Humour  ? '  might  say  a  jesting  Pilate, 
and  would  probably  not  stay  for  the  usual  answers,  which  are  infinite 
in  number  and  variety.  Possibly  the  best  definitions  would  be  those 
of  a  recent  writer,  that  Wit  implies  *  cleverness,  a  quick  and  nimble 
adroitness  in  bringing  together  unexpected  points  of  resemblance 
between  things  apparently  widely  separated,  or  suggesting  some  in 
congruity  or  oddity,  by  a  coincidence  of  sound  or  different  meanings 
of  a  word ',  while  Humour  (to  Shakespeare  a  temper  or  predominant 
mood)  *  betokens  a  certain  kindly,  tolerant,  broad-minded  point  of 
view,  keenly  alive  to  inconsistencies  and  incongruities,  quick  to  note 
and  to  place  in  a  view  where  they  become  patent  the  small  failings  and 
absurdities,  but  at  the  same  time  with  a  sympathetic  understanding 
which  suggests  a  nature  large  enough  to  see  the  faults  and  not  to  be 
repelled  by  them  V  The  sense  of  incongruity  pervades  both,  but 
Humour,  which  is  the  *  genius  of  thoughtful  laughter  '  (Meredith), 
is  tinged  with  emotion,  while  Wit  is  entirely  intellectual. 

Tragedy  and  Comedy  partake  of  both,  but  in  different  degrees. 
Thus  in  Tragedy,  such  as  Shakespeare's  (though  not  in  the  more 
'  classical '  models),  Wit  and  Humour  play  a  prominent  part,  in  in 
creasing  the  poignancy  of  the  emotions,  and  in  effecting  what  Aristotle 
calls  their  *  purgation ',  but  they  are  the  staple  of  Comedy,  where  they 
are  employed  solely  *  for  the  sake  of  laughter  '.  Again,  the  origin  of 
*  laughter '  has  caused  much  throwing  about  of  the  brains  of  the  '  Wise  ', 
from  Aristotle  to  M.  Bergson,  especially  among  the  Germans,  who  have 
viewed  it  philosophically,  from  the  point  of  view  of  disinterested  spec 
tators.  For  example,  Schopenhauer  taught  that  *  laughter '  was  due  to 
the  incongruity  of  what  is  thought  and  what  is  perceived,  such  as  the 
ludicrous  appearance  of  a  tangent  touching  a  circle.  This  may  be  held 
to  be  scientific  laughter,  devoid  of  that  saline  base  to  which  M.  Bergson 
attributes  the  sparkle  of  the  *  comic  '.  On  the  other  hand,  the  English- 

1  Edinburgh  Review  ^  1912,  pp.  397-9. 

W.  J.  M.  STARKIE  213 

man,  Hobbes,  defined  it  as  *  a  sudden  glory  arising  from  sudden  con 
ception  of  some  eminence  in  ourselves  by  comparison  with  the  inferiority 
of  others,  or  with  our  own  formerly  '.  This  being  assumed,  we  may 
agree  with  George  Eliot  that  it  must  have  been  developed  out  of  *  the  cruel 
mockery  of  a  savage  at  the  writhings  of  a  suffering  enemy  '.  But  away 
with  such  puerilities,  out  of  which  '  Agelasts  '  may  weave  their  ropes 
of  sand.  The  theory  of  Evolution  can  transmute  anything  into  any 
thing  else,  as  Benedick  thought  love  might  transform  him  into  an 
oyster.  Better  is  it  to  say,  with  Barrow,  that  Humour  is  '  that  which  we 
all  see  and  know  :  and  one  better  apprehends  what  it  is  by  acquaintance 
than  I  can  inform  him  by  description.  It  is  indeed  so  versatile  and 
uniform,  appearing  in  so  many  shapes,  so  many  postures,  so  many 
garbs,  so  variously  apprehended  by  several  eyes  and  judgements,  that 
it  seemeth  no  less  hard  to  settle  a  clear  and  certain  notice  thereof  than 
to  make  a  picture  of  Proteus,  or  to  define  the  figure  of  floating  air/ 

But  many  have  tried  to  shackle  their  Proteus,  eminently  Professor 
Sully  and  M.  Bergson  in  recent  times,  but,  like  most  modern  philo 
sophers,  they  are  unconsciously  treading  in  the  footsteps  of  Aristotle, 
who,  in  his  Poetic,  seems  to  have  discussed  the  origin  of  Comedy  with 
as  much  care  as  he  devoted  to  Tragedy.  These  chapters  do  not  survive, 
but  in  the  so-called  Tractatus,  edited  by  Cramer  fifty  years  ago,  an 
epitomator  has  given  the  substance  (so  many  hold)  of  the  philosopher's 
analysis  of  the  Comic.  After  defining  Comedy,  the  writer  goes  on  to 
divide  *  inventorially  '  the  sources  of  *  laughter  ',  which  is  produced 
'  from  diction  '  or  *  from  things  '.  These  sources  are  sometimes  in 
distinguishable,1  but  roughly  it  may  be  said  that,  in  the  case  of  *  things  ' 
(including  thoughts  on  them),  the  matter  alone  is  amusing,  however 
it  may  be  expressed  :  on  the  other  hand,  the  *  laughter  '  is  in  the 
'  diction  ',  if  it  is  created,  not  expressed  by  words,  and  if,  when  the 
words  are  changed,  the  humour  vanishes. 

A.    Laughter  is  derived  from  *  diction  ' 2  in  the  following  ways  : 

By  Homonyms? 

*  Homonymous  things '  are  those  which,  though  distinct,  are 
known  by  the  same  name.  On  account  of  the  popularity  of  the  study 
of  Rhetoric  (the  art  of  persuasion  or  deception)  in  Elizabethan  times, 
such '  equivoca '  fascinated  the  ears  of  the  groundlings,  whose  lungs  were 

1  As  Pancrace  says  (Mar.  Forc^  Sc.  iv), '  et  tout  ainsi  que  les  pensees  sont  les  portraits 
des  choses,  de  raeme  nos  paroles  sont-elles  les  portraits  de  nos  pensees.' 

2  d-rrd  rfjs  Ae'f^wy.  3  Ka6' 



more  '  tickle  o*  the  sere  *  than  ours.    As  Hamlet  said,1 '  We  must  speak 
by  the  card,  or  equivocation  will  undo  us/      To  mistake  the  word ', 

*  to  moralize  two  meanings  '  in  a  phrase,  was  the  besetting  vice  of  all 
stage-characters,  tragic  as  well  as  comic.     Thus,  *  old  Gaunt  indeed, 
and  gaunt  in  being  old  ',a '  Til  gild  the  faces  of  the  grooms  withal ;  For 
it  must  seem  their  guilt  '.*    We  cannot  but  agree  with  the  commentators 
that  such  jests  enhance  the  horror  of  the  scene  !  To  the  clowns  who  are 
always  '  winding  up  the  watches  of  their  wits ',  or  seeking  to  escape 
dullness  as  they  say  *  the  dogs  on  the  Nile-banks  drink  at  the  river 
running  to  avoid  the  crocodile  ',4  such  word-plays  were  their  stock-in- 
trade  from  which  they  extracted  the  treasures  of  their  lean  and  wasteful 
learning.    These  civil  wars  of  wits,  at  their  best,  consisted  in  fitting  an 
absurd  idea  into  a  well-established  phrase-form,  or  in  taking  literally 
an  expression  which  was  used  figuratively.    Thus  'Mercutio.  Ask  for  me 
to-morrow,  and  you  shall  find  me  a  grave  man ' ; 6  *  Oliver.  Now,  sir ! 
what  make  you  here  ?  Orlando.  Nothing :  I  am  not  taught  to  make  any 
thing  ' ; 6  *  Sir  Andrew.  Fair  lady,  do  you  think  you  have  fools  in  hand  ? 
Maria.  Sir,  I  have  not  you  by  the  hand  '  ;7   'Sir  Andrew.  Faith,  I  can 
cut  a  caper.     Sir  Toby.  And  I  can  cut  the  mutton  to't  '.8     One  of  the 
worst  is  Hamlet's ;  *  And  many  such-like  "As"es  of  great  charge  '.9 

Bacon  and  Shakespeare  ridiculed,  and  often  practised,  such  *  pecu 
liar  and  quaint  affectation  of  words  ' ;  and  indeed,  after  a  long  course 
of  them,  we  feel  the  justice  of  Lorenzo's  remark  : 

And  I  do  know 

A  many  fools,  that  stand  in  better  place, 
Garnish'd  like  him,  that  for  a  tricksy  word 
Defy  the  matter.10 

*  Homonymy  '  is,  to  our  conception,  less  *  tolerable  and  not  to  be 
endured  '  when  it  consists  in  the  transference  of  words  or  proverbs  into 
new  surroundings,  or  a  new  key  :  for  example,  Pistol's  *  Why,  then  the 
world  's  my  oyster,  Which  I  with  sword  will  open  ' ;  u  the  Bastard's  apt 

*  Zounds  !   I  was  never  so  bethump'd  with  words  Since  I  first  call'd 
my  brother's  father  dad '  ;  "  Trinculo's  *  Alas  !  the  storm  is  come  again  : 
my  best  way  is  to  creep  under  his  [Caliban's]  gaberdine :  there  is  no  other 
shelter  hereabout :  misery  acquaints  a  man  with  strange  bed-fellows;'1* 
or  Pistol's  (touching  his  sword)  *  Have  we  not  Hiren  here  ? ' u 

1  Haml.  V.  i.  147.  z  Rich.  II,  II.  i.  74.  3  Macb.  II.  ii.  57. 

4  Quoted  by  Meredith.  5  Rom.  6-  Jul.  III.  i.  102.  6  A.  Y.  L.  I.  i.  31. 

7  Tw.  N.  I.  iii.  69.  8  ibid.  I.  iii.  129.  9  Haml.  V.  ii.  43. 

10  Merck,  of  V.  Hi.  v.  73.  n  M.  Wives  II.  ii.  2.  12  John  II.  466. 

13  Temp.  ii.  ii.  40.  14  a  Hen.  IV,  II.  iv.  173. 

W.  J.  M.  STARKIE  215 

By  Synonyms.1 

*  Synonymous  things  '  are  those  called  by  the  same  name  in  the 
same  sense.    *  Synonyms  '  are  the  exchequer  of  poets,  whether  lyric, 
tragic,  or  comic,  since  it  is  possible  to  adorn  or  degrade  a  subject  by 
applying  to  it  opposite  epithets  belonging  to  the  same  genus.     Thus 
Simonides  thought  a  victory  with  the  mule-car  too  starved  a  subject 
for  his  pen,  until  he  was  satisfied  with  his  fee,  whereupon  he  began  an 
ode,  *  O  daughters  of  storm-footed  studs  '  ;   a  beggar  may  be  called  a 
c  solicitor  ',  robbery  *  purchase  V  to  steal  '  to  convey  ',3  footpads  *  St. 
Nicholas '  clerks ',  *  squires  of  the  night's  body ',  *  Diana's  foresters,  gentle 
men  of  the  shade,  minions  of  the  moon '.4    Since  the  highest  quality  of 
style  is  due  proportion  (lofty  to  lofty,  low  to  low)  it  is  easy  to  blunder, 
in  serious  poetry,  in  the  choice  of  *  congruent  epitheta '.    Thus  *  the 
brazen  Dionysius  '  made  all  Greece  laugh  by  speaking  of  *  the  scream  of 
Calliope  ' 5  :  Jean  Paul  (after  Hudibras)  compared  the  setting  sun  to  a 
parboiled  lobster.    As  due  proportion  is  demanded  from  serious  writers, 
disproportion  is  the  aim  of  comic  poetry,  and  excites  laughter.    Thus, 
Armado's  speeches  are  *  a  fantastical  banquet,  just  so  many  strange 
dishes  ' :  the  early  clowns  are  said  to  have  been  *  at  a  great  feast  of  lan 
guages  and  to  have  stolen  the  scraps  ',  as  it  were c  from  a  very  alms-basket 
of  words ',  which  often  *  led  to  old  abusing  of  God's  patience  and  the 
King's  English '.    For  example,  l  in  the  posterior  of  the  day  which  the 
vulgar  (Oh  !  base  vulgar)  call  the  afternoon  '.    The  best  commentary  on 
such  vagaries  is  Hamlet's  speech  beginning  *  Sir,  his  definement  suffers 
no  perdition  in  you  ;  though,  I  know,  to  divide  him  inventorially  would 
dizzy  the  arithmetic  of  memory  '.6    The  *  wise  '  say  that  this  style  is 
laughable  as  creating  a  momentary  tension  followed  by  a  relapse. 

*  Synonyms  '  that  degrade,  being  the  stock-in-trade  of  Comedy, 
require  no  illustration.    Shakespeare  often  tried  to  increase  the  required 
tension  by  giving  them  an  enigmatic  character.    Thus, '  Tut !  dun's  the 
mouse,  the  constable's  own  word  '  ( =  *  be  still ')  ; 7  *  Lipsbury  pinfold  ' 
(=  *  the  teeth  ')  ; 8  *  They  call  drinking  deep,  dyeing  scarlet ;  and  when 
you  breathe  in  your  watering,  they  cry  "  hem  !  "  and  bid  you  play  it 
off  '  ; 9  *  I'll  make  a  sop  o'  the  moonshine  of  you  ' ; 10    *  I  am  but  mad 
north-north-west :    when  the  wind  is  southerly  I  know  a  hawk  from 
a  handsaw  '.n 

1  Kara  a-vv^w^Lav.  *  Hen.  V,  III.  ii.  47.  3  M.  Wives,  I.  iii.  30. 

*  /  Hen.  IV,  II.  i.  68  ;  ibid.  I.  ii.  27.     5  Kpauyr)  Ka\\i6-nr]s.  6  Ham/.  V.  ii.  118. 

7  Rom.  &  Jul.  I.  iv.  40.  8  Lear  II.  ii.  9.  9  /  Hen.  IV,  II.  iv.  17. 

10  Lear  n.  ii.  35.  n  Haml.  II.  ii.  405. 

P  2 


By  Garrulity.1 

Under  this  head  come  grandiloquence,  travesty,  in  fact  every  kind 
of  speech  in  which  the  thread  of  the  verbosity  is  drawn  out  finer  than 
the  staple  of  the  argument.  In  the  grand  style,  the  best  exemplars 
(as  in  the  case  of  *  Synonymy  ')  were  the  *  fanatical  phantasime  ' 
Armado,  Holofernes,  and  Sir  Nathaniel  :  in  the  lower  style,  the  accom 
plished  clowns  (e.  g.  Touchstone),  and  braggadocio-militarists,  such 
as  Pistol  and  that  man  of  words,  Parolles.  A  good  instance  of  clownish 
learning  is  : 

Costard.  Sir,  the  contempts  thereof  are  as  touching  me  .....  The  matter  is  to  me,  sir,  as 
concerning  Jaquenetta.  The  manner  of  it  is,  I  was  taken  with  the  manner. 

Biron.  In  what  manner  ? 

Costard.  In  manner  and  form  following,  sir  ;  all  those  three  :  I  was  seen  with  her  in 
the  manor-house,  sitting  with  her  upon  the  form,  and  taken  following  her  into  the  park  ; 
which,  put  together,  is,  in  manner  and  form  following.  Now,  sir,  for  the  manner,  —  it  is  the 
manner  of  a  man  to  speak  to  a  woman,  for  the  form,  —  in  some  form.8 

A  chief  merit  of  good  writing  is  that  it  should  be  adapted  to  its  subject, 
and  laughter  is  caused  when  an  aggravated  style  is  employed  in  em 
bellishing  a  mean  subject,  whether  this  is  done  by  means  of  an  undue 
magnificence  of  language,  or  of  a  tragic  or  lyrical  metre.  The  best 
example  of  the  latter  in  the  '  Pyramus  '  Ode  :  *  Sweet  moon,  I  thank 
thee  for  thy  sunny  beams  ',  especially 

A  tomb 
Must  cover  thy  sweet  eyes, 

These  lily  lips, 

This  cherry  nose, 
These  yellow  cowslip  cheeks, 

Are  gone,  are  gone. 

A  very  Aristophanic  parody. 

By  Paronyms? 

To  speak  strictly,  *  paronymous  things  '  are  those  which  are  called 
by  two  names,  where  one  is  derived  from  the  other  by  varying  the 
termination  ;  thus  Phoebus  and  Phoebe  are  *  paronymous  '.  As  a 
source  of  laughter,  however,  *  Paronymy  '  should  be  restricted  to  nonce- 
words,  or  expressions  strange  to  literary  speech.  In  nonce-words  the 
Greek  and  Latin  comedies  are  extraordinarily  rich,  but  the  genius  of 
French  and  English  does  not  readily  lend  itself  to  such  formations  : 

1   KttT*  aooAeo-xiaz-.  8  Love's  L.  L.  I.  i.  1 

3  Kara  •no.p(awit.iavi  -napii  irpdaOtviv  Kal  a<f)aip«riv. 

W.  J.  M.  STARKIE  217 

Shakespeare,  however,  occasionally  made  experiments  in  them  :    for 
example,  *  the  most  sovereign  prescription  in  Galen  is  but  empiricutic  '  ;  l 

*  I  would  not  have  been  so  fidiused  *  (viz.  Aufidiused,  cp.  Moliere's 

*  tartuffiee  ')  ;  2  *  your  bisson  conspectuities  '  ;  3  '  directitude  '  4   (a  ser 
vant's  word)  ;  the  Gargantuan  '  I  am  joined  with  no  foot-landrakers, 
no  long-staff  sixpenny  strikers,  none  of  these  mad  mustachio-purple- 
hued  malt-worms  ;    but  with  nobility  and  tranquillity,  burgomasters 
and  great  oneyers  ',  5  which  is  as  near  as  the  English  language  can 
get  to  the  fullness   of  such  mouth-filling  compounds  as   o-aATnyyo- 
AoyxuTTT^aSeu,  o-apKao-fioTTLrvoKdfjLTTTaL.    Armado  had  a  mint  of  such  fire- 
new  words  in  his  brain,  e.  g.  *  volable  J  ;  6  *  which  to  annothanize  in 
the    vulgar  '  ;  7    'Dost    thou   infamonize  me  among   potentates  ?  '  ;  8 
compare  also  '  Falstaff.  You  are  grand-jurors  are  ye?   We'll  jure  ye, 
i'  faith  '  ;  9  '  Falstaff.  What  a  plague  mean  ye  to  colt  me  thus  ?    Prince 
Hal.  Thou  liest  :   thou  art  not  colted  ;  thou  art  uncolted  '  ;  10  Falstaff. 
'Away,  you  scullion  !  you  rampallian  !  you  fustilarian  !   I'll  tickle  your 
catastrophe  '  ;  u   'Apprehensive,   quick,    forgetive  '  ;  12    '  Feste.   I   did 
impeticos  thy  gratillity  '  (=  pocket  your  gratuity)  ;  13  '  Costard.  My  incony 
Jew  V4 

By  endearing  expressions,  especially  Diminutives  ,15 

English  is  not,  as  Greek,  Latin,  Italian,  and  Spanish,  rich  in  dimi 
nutives  ;  but,  so  far  as  the  genius  of  the  language  permitted,  Shakespeare 
sometimes  tried,  by  means  of  certain  comic  expressions,  to  convey  the 
particular  shade  of  affection  or  contempt  implied  in  such  formations, 
thus  :  '  Thisne,  Thisne  '  ;  16  '  Whoreson  '  (adjectively  applied  not  only 
to  persons,  but  to  things,  in  a  tone  of  coarse  tenderness,  as  by 
Doll  Tearsheet,  '  Thou  whoreson  little  tidy  Bartholomew  boar-pig  '  17 
'  O  dainty  duck  !  O  dear  !  '  ;18  '  bully  '  (with  Hercules,19  Hector,20  Bottom,21 
&c.)  ;  '  I  did  impeticos  thy  gratillity,'  22  which  may  be  an  attempted 
diminutive  of  '  gratuity  '  ;  '  My  sweet  ounce  of  man's  flesh  !  My  in- 
cony  Jew  !  '  23  Moliere  occasionally  affected  such  '  hypocrisms',  e.g. 
'  Ma  pauvre  fanfan,  pouponne  de  mon  ame  ',  '  Mon  petit  nez,  pauvre 
petit  bouchon.'  24 

1  Cor.  II.  i.  129.  2  ibid.  II.  i.  145.  3  ibid.  II.  i.  71. 

4  ibid.  IV.  v.  223.  5  i  Hen.  IV,  II.  i.  81.  6  L.  L.  L.  ill.  67. 

7  ibid.  IV.  i.  69.  8  ibid.  V.  ii.  682.  9  i  Hen.  IV,  II.  ii.  100. 

10  ibid.  H.  ii.  42.  n  2  Hen.  IV,  II.  i.  67.  12  ibid.  IV.  iii.  107. 

13   Tw.  N.  II.  iii.  27.  u  L.  L.  L.  III.  142.  15  ica0'  VWOKOPHTTIKOV. 

16  17  '  18 

19  M.  Wives  I.  iii.  6.        20  ibid.  n.        21  Mid.  N.  D.  in.  i.  8.         22  Tw.  N.  II.  iii.  27. 
23  L.  L.  L.  III.  142  (Kpcdbt.ov)  .  24  L'jSctfr  des  Maris,  II.  ix:  Sganarelle  to  Isabella. 


By  the  alteration  or  ludicrous  perversion  of  a  word's  intention  by  means  of 
an  inflexion  of  the  voice,  a  gesture,  a  twinkle  of  the  eyey  a  change  of 
expression, — in  fact  by  any  of  the  methods  which  orators  employ  (under 
the  name  of  actio)  to  drive  home  their  meaning? 

Under  this  head  come  *  puns  ',  especially  such  as  the  *  wise '  term 
*  paranomasia  '.  In  many  cases  the  *  alteration  '  is  visible  to  the  eye. 
Wit  of  this  kind  is  extraordinarily  common  in  Elizabethan  dramas. 
Thus  :  *  Falstaff.  If  reasons  [raisins]  were  as  plenty  as  blackberries, 
I  would  give  no  man  a  reason  on  compulsion,  I ' ; 2  *  have  we  not 
Hiren  (=  iron)  here  ?  ' 3  '  Hostess.  I  must  go  fetch  the  third-borough. 
Sly.  Third,  or  fourth,  or  fifth  borough,  I'll  answer  him  by  law ' ; 4  *  Let 's 
be  no  stoics  nor  no  stocks  * ; 5  *  Not  on  thy  sole,  but  on  thy  soul,  harsh 
Jew,  Thou  mak'st  thy  knife  keen  '.6  Similar  are  Speed's  jests  on 
'  ship  ', '  sheep  ',  *  lost  mutton ',  *  laced  mutton  '  ;7  Mercutio's  *  O  their 
bons,  their  bons  ! ; 8  GadshilPs  *  they  pray  continually  to  their  saint,  the 
commonwealth  ;  or  rather,  not  pray  to  her,  but  prey  on  her,  for  they 
ride  up  and  down  on  her  and  make  her  their  boots  '  ;9  *  Chief  Justice . 
Your  means  are  very  slender,  and  your  waste  is  great.  Falstaff.  I  would 
it  were  otherwise :  I  would  my  means  were  greater  and  my  waist 
slenderer  ' ; 10  *  Chief  Justice.  There  is  not  a  white  hair  on  thy  face  but 
should  have  his  effect  of  gravity.  Falstaff.  His  effect  of  gravy,  gravy, 
gravy  ' ; 1]  *  Speed.  Item,  She  can  sew.  Launce.  That 's  as  much  as 
to  say,  Can  she  so  ?  '  One  must  have  nimble  and  active  lungs  to 
appreciate  some  of  these  *  turlupinades.' 


By  false  analogy,  especially  in  a  grammatical  sense? 

This  figure  is  due  to  a  false  conclusion  that  two  or  more  words, 
from  being  analogous  in  form,  structure,  or  conjugation,  are  analogous  in 
meaning  also.  Errors  of  this  kind  are  common  in  ordinary  speech,  and 
are  callecT  solecisms,  or  barbarisms  ;  in  Comedy,  however,  they  are 
deliberately  employed  *  for  the  sake  of  laughter  '.  Of  this  kind  are 
Dame  Quickly 's  slips,  *  bastardly  rogue  ',  *  as  rheumatic  as  two  dry 
toasts  ',  *  honey-suckle  villain ',  *  honey-seed  rogue ',  *  thou  hemp-seed  '  ;14 
Costard's  *  Thou  hast  it  ad  dunghill,  at  the  fingers'  ends,  as  they  say '  ;15 
'  Pompion  the  Great ' ; 16  Launce 's  *  I  have  received  my  proportion 

1  Kara  t£a\\ayTjv  <j>a>vfi  rot?  ojmoyeWcri.  *  /  Hen.  IV,  II.  iv.  268. 

3  2  Hen.  IV,  II.  iv.  173.  4  Tarn.  Sh.  Ind.  i.  12.  •  ibid.  I.  i.  31. 

*  Merck.  ofV.  IV.  i.  123.  7   Two  Gent.  I.  i.  73  sqq.         8  Rom.  &Jul.  II.  iv.  38. 

8  /  Hen.  IV,  II.  i.  88.  10  a  Hen.  IV,  I.  ii.  161.  "  ibid.  184. 

18  Two  Gent.  HI.  i.  310.       13  Kara  TO  a\rma  A^cwy.        w  Seeesp.2ffen.fV,  II.  i.  57  sqq. 
16  L.  L.  L.  V.  i.  82.  le  ibid.  V.  ii.  502. 

W.  J.  M.  STARKIE  219 

like  the  prodigious  son ' ; *  Quince's  *  he  is  a  very  paramour  for  a 
sweet  voice  ' ; 2  Gobbo's  *  Sand-blind,  high-gravel-blind '. 3  Under 
the  same  head  comes  false  analogy  even  of  a  learned  kind,  such  as  was 
common  in  English  comedies,  when  logic  was  more  commonly  studied 
than  at  present,  and  the  laws  of  language  were  attracting  attention,  but 
were  not  yet  understood.  These  questions  had  a  strange  fascination  for 
Shakespeare  and  his  compeers.  Good  instances  are  the  following  : 

Holof ernes.  I  abhor  .  .  .  such  rackets  of  orthography,  as  to  speak  dout,  fine,  when  he 
should  say,  doubt ;  det,  when  he  should  pronounce,  debt, — d,  e,  b,  t,  not  d,  e,  t :  he  clepeth 
a  calf,  cauf ;  half,  hauf ;  neighbour  vocatur  nebour,  neigh  abbreviated  ne.  This  is  abhomin- 
able,  which  he  would  call  abominable — it  insinuateth  me  of  insanie.4 

Speed.  What  an  ass  art  thou !     I  understand  thee  not. 

Launce.  What  a  block  art  thou,  that  thou  canst  not !     My  staff  understands  me. 

Speed.  It  stands  under  thee,  indeed. 

Launce.  Why,  stand-under  and  under-stand  is  all  one.5 

Petr2ichio.  Here,  Sirrah  Grumio  ;  knock,  I  say. 
Grumio.  Knock,  Sir !  is  there  any  man  has  rebused  your  worship  ? 
Petrttchw.  Villain,  I  say,  knock  me  here  soundly. 

Grumio.  Knock  you  here,  sir!  why,  sir,  what  am  I,  sir,  that  I  should  knock  you 
here,  sir  ? 6 

B.    Laughter  is  derived  from  *  things  '  in  the  following  ways  : 

By  comparisons  which  are  complimentary  or  degrading.1 

The  employment  of  the  former  *  for  the  sake  of  laughter  '  is  not  very 
common,  except  in  the  *  Gongoresque  '  style  of  Armado,  or  the  pedantic 
Latinisms  of  Holofernes  ;  but  Falstaff  made  some  splendid  experiments 
in  imitation  of  Lyly  :  '  for  though  the  camomile,  the  more  it  is  trodden 
on  the  faster  it  grows,  yet  youth  the  more  it  is  wasted  the  sooner  it 
wears  ' ; 8  *  There  is  a  thing,  Harry,  which  thou  hast  often  heard  of,  and 
it  is  known  to  many  in  our  land  by  the  name  of  pitch  ;  this  pitch,  as 
ancient  writers  do  report,  doth  defile  ;  so  doth  the  company  thou 
keepest  :  for,  Harry,  now  I  do  not  speak  to  thee  in  drink  but  in  tears, 
not  in  pleasure  but  in  passion,  not  in  words  only,  but  in  woes  also  \9 

More  common  are  instances  of  deliberate  degradation.  For  a  study 
of  such  *  odorous  '  comparisons,  in  which  Shakespeare  almost  equals 
Aristophanes,  take  the  speeches  of  Prince  Hal — that  *  most  comparative, 
rascalliest,  sweet  young  prince  ' — and  of  Falstaff  in  reply  : 

Prince.  I'll  be  no  longer  guilty  of  this  sin  :  this  sanguine  coward,  this  bed-presser,  this 
horseback-breaker,  this  huge  hill  of  flesh, — 

1   Two  Gent.  II.  iii.  3.  2  Mid.  N.  D.  IV.  ii.   13.  3  Merck,  of  V.  II.  ii.  37. 

*  L.  L.  L.  V.  i.  19  sqq.  6  Two  Gent.  II.  v.  25  sqq.  6  Tarn.  SA.  I.  ii.  5. 

7  ZK  TTJS  ofxoiwo-eco?,  x/37]0"*1  TTpos  TO  yjtipov,  Ttpbs  TO  /3cAnoz/. 

8  I  Hen.  IV,  II.  iv.  446.  9  ibid.  458. 


Falstaff.  'Sblood,  you  starveling,  you  elf-skin,  you  dried  neat's-tongue,  you  bull's 
pizzle,  you  stock-fish  !  O  !  for  breath  to  utter  what  is  like  thee  ;  you  tailor's  yard,  you 
sheath,  you  bow-case,  you  vile  standing  tuck  !  l 

Excellent  too  are  Falstaff's  description  of  himself  and  his  page,  '  I  do 
here  walk  before  thee  like  a  sow  that  hath  overwhelmed  all  her  litter  but 
one  '  ;8  Launce  on  his  sweetheart,  *  She  hath  more  qualities  than  a  water- 
spaniel  —  which  is  much  in  a  bare  Christian  '  ;  3  Falstaff  on  Bardolph's 
nose,  *  Do  you  not  remember  a*  saw  a  flea  stick  upon  Bardolph's 
nose,  and  a*  said  it  was  a  black  soul  burning  in  hell-fire';4  the  Boy's 
suggestion  :  *  Good  Bardolph,  put  thy  face  between  his  sheets  and  do 
the  office  of  a  warming-pan.  Faith,  he  's  very  ill.'  5  To  show  how 
prodigal  Shakespeare  was  of  his  imagination  in  the  cause  of  laughter, 
compare  'you  are  now  sailed  into  the  north  of  my  lady's  opinion  ;  where 
you  will  hang  like  an  icicle  on  a  Dutchman's  beard';8  'he  does  smile 
his  face  into  more  lines  than  are  in  the  new  map  with  the  augmentation 
of  the  Indies  '  ;  7  *  Now  a  little  fire  in  a  wide  field  were  like  an  old 
lecher's  heart  ;  a  small  spark,  all  the  rest  on  's  body  cold  '  ;  8  '  he  no  more 
remembers  his  mother  now  than  an  eight-year-old  horse  ;  the  tart 
ness  of  his  face  sours  ripe  grapes  :  when  he  walks,  he  moves  like  an 
engine,  and  the  ground  shrinks  before  his  treading  :  he  is  able  to  pierce 
a  corslet  with  his  eye;  talks  like  a  knell,  and  his  hum  is  a  battery.  .  .  . 
There  is  no  more  mercy  in  him  than  there  is  milk  in  a  male  tiger." 

By  deception™ 

In  a  sense,  every  metaphor,  every  jest,  is  a  '  deception  ',  as  it  involves 
a  tension  of  the  mind  which  is  suddenly  dissolved,  but  here  the  *  decep 
tion  '  is  limited  to  '  things  ',  and  may  be  illustrated  by  the  plot  of  nearly 
every  comedy  of  intrigue,  such  as  Moliere's.  In  its  more  limited 
sense,  which  Aristotle  probably  intended,  it  is  illustrated  by  the  false 
teachers  in  the  Taming  of  the  Shrew  ;  Falstaff's  disguise  as  a  witch  ; 
Rosalind's  *  Swashing  outside  —  as  many  mannish  cowards  have  '  ; 
the  ambushing  of  Parolles  by  his  friends.  Such  '  deceptions  '  illustrate 
the  *  sudden  glory  '  of  Hobbes.  The  most  complete  example  of  this 
sub  -head  is  that  *  merry  wanderer  of  the  night  ',  Puck  : 

I  jest  to  Oberon,  and  make  him  smile 

When  I  a  fat  and  bean-fed  horse  beguile, 

Neighing  in  likeness  of  a  filly  foal  : 

And  sometime  lurk  I  in  a  gossip's  bowl, 

In  very  likeness  of  a  roasted  crab  ; 

And  when  she  drinks,  against  her  lips  I  bob 

1  i  Hen.  IV,  II.  iv.  271.        *  2  Hen.  IV^  I.  ii.  1  1.  3  Two  Gent.  Hi.  i.  272. 

4  Hen.  V,  II.  iii.  42.  5  ibid.  i.  86.  6  Tw.  N.  III.  ii.  29.  7  ibid.  ii.  86. 

8  Lear  III.  iv.  114.  9  Cor.  V.  iv.  17  sqq.  10  «£  dircm/s. 

W.  J.  M.  STARKIE  221 

And  on  her  wither'd  dewlap  pour  the  ale. 

The  wisest  aunt,  telling1  the  saddest  tale, 

Sometime  for  three- foot  stool  mistaketh  me; 

Then  slip  I  from  her  bum,  down  topples  she, 

And  '  tailor '  cries,  and  falls  into  a  cough ; 

And  then  the  whole  quire  holds  their  hips  and  loff.1 

With  Mr.  Bergson,  we  may  find  the  origin  of  this  species  of  the 
comic  in  the  pleasure  children  take  in  pretending,  or  in  *  disfiguring  ' 
various  animals  and  things. 

By  impossibility? 

Under  this  head  come  all  degrees  of  unreason  and  unintelligibility. 
For  example : 

Clown.  Bonos  dies,  Sir  Toby :  for  as  the  old  hermit  of  Prague,  that  never  saw  pen 
and  ink,  very  wittily  said  to  a  niece  of  King  Gorboduc,  '  That,  that  is,  is ' ;  so  I,  being 
Master  parson,  am  Master  parson  ;  for,  what  is  '  that ',  but '  that ',  and  '  is  ',  but '  is  '  ? 3 

Autolyc^ls.  Here 's  another  ballad  of  a  fish  that  appeared  upon  the  coast  on  Wednesday 
the  fourscore  of  April,  forty  thousand  fathom  above  water,  and  sung  this  ballad  against 
the  hard  hearts  of  maids.4 

Sir  Andrew.  In  sooth,  thou  wast  in  very  gracious  fooling  last  night,  when  thou  spokest 
of  Pigrogromitus,  of  the  Vapians  passing  the  equinoctial  of  Queubus :  'twas  very  good, 
i'  faith.5 

Here  also  must  be  classed  those  *  most  senseless  and  fit '  men  of  the 
law — Dull,  Dogberry,  and  Elbow  ;  Launce  and  his  dog,  *  Ask  my  dog  : 
if  he  say  ay,  it  will ;  if  he  say  no,  it  will ;  if  he  shake  his  tail  and  say 
nothing,  it  will '  ; 6  and  the  countless  clowns  who,  in  mistaking  the 
word,  aped  their  betters,  since  *  foolery  doth  walk  about  the  orb  like 
the  sun  :  it  shines  everywhere  '.  Shakespeare  was,  indeed,  too  wise 
not  to  know  that  for  most  of  the  purposes  of  human  life,  stupidity 
is  a  most  valuable  element,  and  so  cannot  be  excluded  from  its  due 
place  in  the  *  comic  '.  In  his  inexhaustible  humanity,  the  poet  suffered 
fools  as  gladly  as  he  did  wiser  folk,  since,  like  Sophocles,  he  was  of  all 
men  the  most  *  gentle  ',  and  hated  nothing  that  had  blood  in  it,  except 
perhaps  the  hypocrite  lago,  and  the  '  prenzy  Angelo  '. 

By  that  which,  while  not  violating  possibility,  is  devoid  of  sequence.'1 

Here  should  be  classed  that  deliberate  irrelevance  which  Ben  Jonson 
called  *  the  game  of  vapours  '. 

Falstaff.  By  the  Lord,  thou  sayest  true,  lad.  And  is  not  my  hostess  of  the  tavern 
a  most  sweet  wench  ? 

1  Mid.  N.  D.  II.  i.  44.  2  &  r&v  towArw.  z  Tw.  N.  IV.  ii.  14. 

4  Wint.  Tale  IV.  iii.  277.  5  Tw.  N.  II.  iii.  20.  '  Two  Gent.  n.  v.  36. 

7  €K  TOV  bvvdrov  Kal  ava.KO\ovOov. 


Prince  Hal.  As  the  honey  of  Hybla,  my  old  lad  of  the  castle.  And  is  not  a  buff 
jerkin  a  most  sweet  robe  of  durance  ? 

Falstaft.  How  now,  how  now,  mad  wag  ?  what,  in  thy  quips  and  thy  quiddities  ?  what 
a  plague  have  I  to  do  with  a  buff  jerkin  ? 

Prince  Hal.  Why,  what  a  pox  have  I  to  do  with  my  hostess  of  the  tavern  ? J 

For  studies  in  comic  illogicality,  the  reader  may  be  referred  to  the 
professional  unreason  of  Costard,  Dull,  Dogberry,  Verger,  Froth, 
Elbow,  and  the  rest  of  the  glorious  '  thar-boroughs  ',  who,  as  is  not 
unknown  among  officials,  exalt  the  letter  of  their  regulations  above  the 
spirit :  nor  must  we  forget  Dame  Quickly 's  *  twice  sod  simplicity '. 
*  Thou  didst  swear  to  me  upon  a  parcel-gilt  goblet,  sitting  in  my  Dolphin- 
chamber,  at  the  round  table,  by  a  sea-coal  fire,  upon  Wednesday  in 
Wheeson  week,  when  the  prince  broke  thy  head  for  liking  his  father  to 
a  singing-man  of  Windsor ' ; 2  Launce's  irony  ;  Touchstone's  dullness 
which  was  *  the  whetstone  of  the  wits  ' ;  *  the  contagious  breath  '  of 
Feste,  who  wore  no  *  motley  in  his  brain  ',  and  was  *  wise  enough  to 
play  the  fool,  and  to  do  that  well  craves  a  kind  of  wit  '.  Witness  his 
immortal  saw  *  Many  a  good  hanging  prevents  a  bad  marriage  *.8  Bergson 
remarks  that  comic  logic  consists  in  ideas  counterfeiting  true  reasoning 
just  sufficiently  to  deceive  a  mind  dropping  off  to  sleep.  Of  this  kind 
is  Falstaff  s  immortal  soliloquy  on  Honour  : 

What  need  I  be  so  forward  with  him  that  calls  not  on  me?  Well,  'tis  no  matter; 
honour  pricks  me  on.  Yes,  but  how  if  honour  prick  me  oft  when  I  come  on  ?  how  then  ? 
Can  honour  set  to  a  leg  ?  No.  Or  an  arm  ?  No.  Or  take  away  the  grief  of  a  wound  ? 
No.  Honour  hath  no  skill  in  surgery  then  ?  No.  What  is  honour  ?  a  word.  What  is 
that  word,  honour  ?  Air.  A  trim  reckoning !  Who  hath  it  ?  he  that  died  o'  Wednesday. 
Doth  he  feel  it  ?  No.  Doth  he  hear  it  ?  No.  It  is  insensible  then  ?  Yea,  to  the  dead. 
But  will  it  not  live  with  the  living  ?  No.  Why  ?  Detraction  will  not  suffer  it.  Therefore 
111  none  of  it :  honour  is  a  mere  scutcheon ;  and  so  ends  my  catechism.4 

It  cannot  be  proved  that  Moliere  was  a  student  of  Shakespeare  as 
he  was  of  Aristophanes,  and  so  it  is  a  curious  coincidence  that  Sganarelle 
(Sganarelle,  sc.  xvii)  when  contemplating  a  duel,  employed  the  same 
reasoning  about  *  honour '  as  Falstaff  does. 

By  the  unexpected? 

The  comic  effects  of  the  *  unexpected  '  are  so  varied  that  many 
writers  have  extended  it  so  as  to  cover  the  whole  field  of  the  laughable. 
Thus,  Kant  has  defined  the  *  comic  *  as  the  result  of  an  expectation 
which  of  a  sudden  ends  in  nothing.  Similar  is  M.  Bergson 's  theory 
of  the  ludicrous  effect  of  inelasticity  or  want  of  adaptability,  since 
adaptability  is  necessary  to  the  well-being  of  society,  and  laughter  is 

1  i  Hen.  IV,  I.  ii.  44.  3  2  Hen.  IV,  II.  i.  96.  3  Tw.  N.  I.  v.  20. 

4  I  Hen.  IV,  V.  i.  129.  *  ex  T&V  irapa  -npoabouav. 

W.  J.  M.  STARKIE  223 

the  corrective  of  qualities  regarded  as  unsound  or  disturbing  of  its 
equanimity..  From  this  point  of  view,  the  laughable  is  something  rigid 
imposed  on  the  living.  Thus,  Bardolph's  nose  is  laughable  as  having 
the  appearance  of  being  created  by  Art,  '  all  bubukles  and  whelks  and 
knobs  and  flames  of  fire  ',  and  independent  of  self.  Laughable  too  is 
a  person  treated  as  a  thing,  as  Falstaff  in  the  buck-basket,  and  cooled, 
glowing  hot,  in  the  Thames,  like  a  horse-shoe.  Aristotle  limited 

*  surprise  'to  *  things  *  (situations,  &c.),  but  a  great  deal  of  the  pleasure 
derived  from  this  source  arises  from  words  which  create  tension,  e.  g. 
bold  metaphors,  comparisons,  sudden  turns  of  phrase,  such  as  con 
stitute,  in  large  measure,  the  '  comic  '  in  Aristophanes.    These  are  not 
very  common  in  Shakespeare,  but  the  following  thoroughly  Aristophanic 
turn  may  be  quoted  :    '  I  was  as  virtuously  given  as  a  gentleman  need 
to  be  ;  virtuous  enough  ;   swore  little  ;  diced  not  above  seven  times 
a  week  ;    went  to  a  bawdy-house  not  above  once  in  a  quarter — of  an 
hour ;   paid  money  that  I  borrowed  three  or  four  times  '  (/  Hen.  IV, 
in.  iii.  1 6).    Falstaff  was  also  the  cause  that  such  wit  was  in  his  friends, 
4  A  rascal  bragging  slave  !    the  rogue  fled  from  me  like  quicksilver. 
Doll.   F  faith,  and  thou  followedst  him  like  a  church.' 1 

By  representing  characters  as  worse  than  nature? 
We  learn  from  Aristotle's  Poetic  that  Aeschylus  represented  men 
as  better,  Euripides  as  worse  than  nature.  That  is  to  say,  Euripides 
painted  life  as  he  conceived  it,  in  realistic  colours,  with  all  its  foibles 
and  weaknesses,  and  thus  became  the  forerunner  of  Menander,  Plautus, 
Terence,  and  Moliere.  The  standpoint  of  Aristophanes  and  Shakespeare 
was  different.  Being  a  political  lampooner  Aristophanes'  aim  was  to 
treat  contemporary  ideals  as  dross.  The  philosophers,  like  Socrates  ; 
the  demagogues,  like  Cleon,  Hyperbolus,  and  Cleophon  ;  the  statesmen, 
like  Pericles,  and  even  Nicias,  the  gods  themselves,  were  not  spared. 
In  the  Knights,  the  demagogues  are  blackguards,  brazen-faced,  illiterate, 
filthy  knaves,  whose  only  qualifications  are  '  a  horrid  voice,  an  evil 
origin,  a  swashbuckler  temperament ' :  fortified  with  these  *  com 
plements  ',  *  they  have  every  qualification  needed  for  success  in  political 
life  '.  The  circumstances  of  the  time  excluded  Shakespeare  from 
politics,  and  his  temperament,  and  possibly  his  inexperience  of  court 
life,  did  not  fit  him  for  such  social  satire  as  is  found  in  Moliere,  but 
an  exception  must  be  made.  In  Troilus  and  Cressida,  Timon,  and 
Coriolanus,  for  some  unexplained  reason,  the  poet  adopted  the  role  of  an 

*  ironic  caricaturist  ',  with  a  malignity  unequalled  in  Juvenal  and  Swift. 

1  2  Hen.  IV,  II.  iv.  246.  2  (K  TOV  KaTao-KwdCfiv  ra  irpoVcoTra  irpos  TO  \flpov. 


Ostensibly,  however,  he  spared  his  contemporaries,  and  vented  the 
accumulated  bitterness  of  his  heart  upon  men  who  had  been  safely 
hearsed  for  some  thousands  of  years. 

Satire  was  a  dangerous  weapon  in  the  spacious  days  of  great 
Elizabeth,  but  a  satirist  ran  no  risk  in  calling  Achilles  '  a  drayman,  a 
porter,  a  very  camel '  ;  *  or  in  accusing  Ajax  of  wearing  *  his  wits  in 
his  belly,  and  his  guts  in  his  head  ' ; 2  or  of  having  '  not  so  much  wit 
as  will  stop  the  eye  of  Helen's  needle  '  ; 3  the  wit  of  Ulysses  and  Nestor 
might  safely  be  said  to  have  been  *  mouldy  ere  your  grandsires  had  nails 
on  their  toes  * ; 4  Agamemnon  might  have  *  not  so  much  wit  as  ear-wax ' ; 5 
and  Diomede  might  be  *  a  dissembling  abominable  varlet  '.*  In 
caricaturing  the  tribunes  in  Coriolanus,  and  the  once  popular  character 
Jack  Cade,  he  came  nearer  to  his  own  time,  but  neither  the  government 
nor  the  mob  felt  their  withers  wrung.  But  one  may  wonder  that  the 
*  groundlings  '  did  not  fling  their  sweaty  night-caps  at  him  when  he 
spoke  of  the  people — true,  it  was  the  Roman  people — as  *  our  musty 
superfluity  ' ; 7  '  beastly  plebeians  ', 8  whose  only  duty  was  to  *  wash 
their  face  and  keep  their  teeth  clean  '.9  From  his  experience  in  the 
theatre,  Shakespeare  seems  to  have  had  a  physical  repulsion  from  '  the 
mutable,  rank-scented  many  ' ; 10  *  common  cry  of  curs  !  whose  breath 
I  hate  As  reek  o'  the  rotten  fens,  whose  loves  I  prize  As  the  dead 
carcases  of  unburied  men  That  do  corrupt  my  air  '  ; n  *  a  pile  of 
noisome  musty  chaff  V2 

By  the  use  of  vulgar  dancing.™ 

This  is  not  so  fruitful  a  subject  in  Shakespeare  as  in  Aristophanes 
and  Moliere,  but  comic  measures  were  occasionally  employed  by  him  to 
please  those  in  his  audience  who  were  capable  of  nothing  but  inex 
plicable  dumb  shows  and  noise.  Thus,  Sir  Andrew  *  danced  fantasti 
cally  '  and  was  most  tyrannically  clapped  by  Sir  Toby  ;  *  Why  dost 
thou  not  go  to  church  in  a  galliard,  and  come  home  in  a  coranto  ?  My 
very  walk  should  be  a  jig  :  I  would  not  so  much  as  make  water  but  in 
a  sink-a-pace.' 14 

When  one  has  a  choice,  by  disregarding  the  best,  and  taking  the 

inferior  sorts.15 

This  sub-head  is  somewhat  like  *  the  barber's  chair,  which  suits 
every  buttock ',  but  Aristotle  probably  would  have  limited  it  to  cases 

1  Troilus  I.  ii.  267.         2  ibid.  II.  i.  78.  3  ibid.  84.  4  ibid.  1 14. 

5  ibid.  V.  i.  58.  °  ibid.  V.  iv.  a.  7  Cor.  I.  i.  232.          8  ibid.  II.  i.  107. 

9  ibid.  II.  iii.  65.  10  ibid.  III.  i.  65.  "  ibid.  III.  3.  118. 

*  ibid.  V.  i.  25.  13  IK  TOV  xpij<T6ai  </>opTiK7?  opx^«.  14   Tw.  N.  I.  iii.  138. 

l5.  QTOV  TIS  TUV  i£ov<riai'  e-^vTutv  naptis  TO.  jWyiora  (ra)  ^avAorara  \anfidvr]. 

W.  J.  M.  STARKIE  225 

such  as  the  following  :  '  The  same  Sir  John,  the  very  same.  I  saw 
him  break  Skogan's  head  at  the  court  gate,  when  a'  was  a  crack  not  thus 
high  :  and  the  very  same  day  did  I  fight  with  one  Sampson  Stockfish, 
a  fruiterer,  behind  Gray's  Inn.  Jesu  !  Jesu  !  the  mad  days  that  I  have 
spent.' 1  '  You  (tribunes)  wear  out  a  good  wholesome  forenoon  in 
hearing  a  cause  between  an  orange- wife  and  a  fosset-seller,  and  then 
rejourn  the  controversy  of  three-pence  to  a  second  day  of  audience.' 2 
'  This  peace  is  nothing  but  to  rust  iron,  increase  tailors,  and  breed 
ballad-makers.  .  .  .  Peace  is  a  very  apoplexy,  lethargy ;  mulled,  deaf, 
sleepy,  insensible  ;  a  getter  of  more  bastard  children  than  war  's  a 
destroyer  of  men.' 3 

By  using  language  which  is  incoherent,  though  there  may  be  no  lack  of 

(grammatical)  sequence* 

The  best  illustration  of  such  '  incoherence  '  is  Nym,  the  man  of 
*  humours  ',  whp  heard  that  *  men  of  few  words  are  the  best  men  ;  and 
therefore  he  scorned  to  say  his  prayers,  lest  a'  should  be  thought  a 
coward  '.  'Be  avised,  sir,  and  pass  good  humours.  I  will  say  "  marry 
trap,"  with  you,  if  you  run  the  nuthook's  humour  on  me  :  that  is  the 
very  note  of  it  '.5  But  Dogberry  must  not  be  forgotten  :  '  Write  down 
that  they  hope  they  serve  God  :  and  write  God  first ;  for  God  defend 
but  God  should  go  before  such  villains  !  Masters,  it  is  proved  already 
that  you  are  little  better  than  false  knaves,  and  it  will  go  near  to  be 
thought  so  shortly  '.6 

Such  is  Aristotle's  analysis  of  the  comic.  Though  thorough  and 
conscientious,  it  is  somewhat  mechanical  and  external ; 7  and,  like  all 
such  analyses  (even  those  of  Professor  Sully  and  M.  Bergson),  does 
little  justice  to  the  combination,  in  Aristophanes  and  Shakespeare,  of 
wit,  gaiety,  swiftness  of  apprehension,  lightness  of  touch,  obscenity, 
frivolity,  and  above  all,  the  power  to  touch  pitch  without  being  defiled — 
the  ability  to  rise  from  *  the  laystalls  '  of  buffoonery  on  the  wings  of  the 
most  delicate  fancy.  For  example,  Falstaff,  while  affording  instances 
of  every  one  of  the  above  sub-heads,  presents  a  great  deal  more  that 
does  not  submit  to  any  analysis.  As  Bagehot  said  of  him,  *  If  most  men 
were  to  save  up  all  the  gaiety  of  their  whole  lives,  it  would  come  about 
to  the  gaiety  of  one  speech  of  Falstaff.'  Indeed  there  was  much  in 

1  2  Hen.  IV,  ill.  ii.  32.  2  Cor.  II.  i.  78.  3  ibid.  IV.  v.  235  sqq. 

4  orav  acrvv&pTrjTOs  77  77  Ae£is  KOI  ^bcp-Cav  &vaKO\ovdiav  €\<i>v. 

5  M.  Wives  I.  i.  171.  6  Much  Ado  IV.  ii.  21. 

7  Cp.  Quiller-Couch,   The  Art^  of  Writing^  p.   105:  'All  classifying  of  literature 
intrudes  "  science  "  upon  an  art,  and  is  artificially  "  scientific  ",  a  trick  of  pedants.' 


common  between  the  ages  of  Pericles  and  Elizabeth  which  impressed 
itself  upon  the  language  of  Aristophanes  and  Shakespeare,  so  full  is  it 
of  the  intense  animal  spirits,  of  the  freshness,  daring,  and  intellectual 
vigour  of  those  extraordinary  days  when,  as  it  seems,  every  one  from 
heroes  to  catchpoles,  spoke  in  a  tongue  that  was  of  imagination  all 
compact.  Shakespeare  is  said  to  have  used  fifteen  thousand  words — 
Milton  being  a  bad  second  with  eight  thousand  :  we  cannot  say  the 
like  of  Aristophanes,  in  relation  to  his  literary  compeers,  as  their  works 
are  lost,  but  the  richness  of  his  comic  vocabulary  is  extraordinary  (I  have 
counted  sixty-three  nonce-words  in  a  single  play),  and  is  equalled  by 
that  of  Shakespeare  and  Rabelais  alone.  Hence  he  cannot  be  translated, 
so  as  to  give  the  full  effect  of  his  language,  except  in  the  diction  of 
Shakespeare.  Certainly  modern  slang  is  not  a  suitable  medium  ;  it  is 
too  ephemeral,  too  poverty-stricken,  trivial,  and  mean,  too  little  tinged 
with  the  hues  of  imagination  which  are  never  absent  in  Aristophanes. 
Be  that  as  it  may,  many  passages,  hitherto  held  to  be  untranslatable, 
may  be  readily  clothed  in  an  Elizabethan,  if  not  Shakespearian,  dress : 
for  example,  take  the  celebrated  passage  in  the  Clouds  (recited  with 
breathless  speed) : 

Let  them  take  me  and  do  with  me  what  they  will.  This  back  of  mine  I  bequeath  to  be 
hungry  and  thirsty,  to  be  beaten  with  rods,  to  be  frozen,  to  be  flayed  into  a  pell,  if  I  can 
but  shuffle  off  my  debts,  and  appear  to  the  world  a  thrasonical,  plausible  patch,  a  go-ahead 
knave,  sheer  bounce,  a  whoreson  wretch,  a  mint  of  lies,  a  coiner  of  phrases,  a  court-hack, 
a  walking  code-book,  a  clapper,  a  fox,  a  gimlet,  a  cheveril  glove,  a  rogue  in  grain,  smooth 
as  oil,  a  bragging  Jack,  a  halter-sack,  a  scroyle,  a  boggier,  a  hard  nut,  a  miching  mallecho. 
If  they  give  me  these  additions,  when  they  meet  me,  let  them  do  their  very  worst — aye,  by 
Demeter,  if  they  list,  let  them  make  of  me  a  dish  of  chitterlings  to  set  before  the  minute 

Even  Aristophanes'  most  difficult  puns  can  be  readily  Shakespeari- 
anized.  Thus,  *  I  wonder  why  the  flue  is  smoking.  Halloa  !  who  are 
you  ?  '  *  My  name  is  Smoke  :  I'm  trying  to  get  out.'  '  Smoke  ?  Let 
me  see  ;  what  wood  's  smoke  are  you  ?  '  *  Medlar  wood.'  '  Aye,  the 
meddler.  'Tis  the  most  searching  of  all  smokes.' z  '  Is  your  name 
Utis  ?  ' 3  'I  warrant  there'll  be  no  utis  here  for  you.4 

1  Clouds,  439.  2  Wasps,  143  :  Apemantus'  jest,  Timon  IV.  iii.  309. 

3  Owns :  Ulysses'  jest  whereby  he  deceived  the  Cyclopes. 

4  Wasps,  1 86  (Utis  =  ' merriment',  cp.  a  Hen.  IV,  II.  iv.  21,  'First  Draw.  By  the 
mass,  here  will  be  old  Utis :  it  will  be  an  excellent  stratagem '). 

W.  J.  M.  STARKIE. 

A.  R.  SKEMP  227 

GOD-LIKE  is  the  poet's  power,  to  pass 
Beyond  the  narrow  limits  of  his  being, 
And  share  in  many  lives.    Another's  pain, 
Aloofly  pitied  by  land,  common  men, 
Stabs  him  with  equal  pang  ;   another's  joy 
He  sees  not  as  an  alien  spectacle 
But  feels  with  quickened  beat  of  his  own  blood 
And  kindred  triumph  singing  in  his  breast. 
Through  him  the  world's  life  surges  ;    in  his  song 
Its  din  of  clashing  inarticulate  tones 
Grows  meaningful  and  musical.    His  voice 
Utters  the  Word  of  Power  that  breaks  the  spell 
Binding  the  sleeping  beauty  of  the  world  : 
She  stirs,  and  customary  night  grows  pale  ; 
She  wakes,  and  dawn  is  kindled  at  her  eyes  ; 
She  rises,  and  the  prince  in  every  heart 
Beholds  and  worships  his  long-dreamed-of  bride. 

There  is  a  spark  of  God  in  every  soul 
Conscious  of  being  ;    a  diviner  flame 
Burns  in  the  poet's  deeper,  wider  life  ; 
And  in  thy  spirit,  Shakespeare,  more  intense, 
More  luminous  than  in  all  poets  else 
Shines  the  eternal  sacred  fire  ;   for  thou 
Alone  of  all  man's  priesthood,  lived  for  all, 
And  gave  our  multitudinous  mortal  being 
Its  conscious  soul  for  ever.     Still  through  thee 
Beats  into  us  the  pulse  of  all  their  lives 
Who  lived  once  in  thy  soul ;   our  finite  lives 
Reach  through  thee  out  into  the  infinite. 

A.  R.  SKEMP. 


1  From  a  longer  poem  by  the  writer. 



IN  adding  my  own  word  on  Shakespeare  to  the  chorus  of 
universal  homage  I  speak  as  a  student  whose  particular  field  of  work 
is,  not  English  Literature,  but  World  Literature  :  the  general  litera 
ture  of  the  whole  world  seen  in  perspective  from  the  standpoint  of 
the  English-speaking  civilization.  In  such  a  field  of  view  Shake 
speare  makes  the  central  point :  the  mountain-top  dominating  the 
whole  landscape.  As  in  the  Middle  Ages  all  roads  led  to  Rome,  so 
in  the  study  of  World  Literature  all  lines  of  thought  lead  to  or  from 

It  has  been  said  that  for  the  achievement  of  literary  greatness  two 
powers  must  concur  :  the  Man  and  the  Moment.  The  concurrence 
has  for  once  taken  place  without  limitations  :  a  supreme  literary  indi 
viduality  has  been  projected  upon  an  historic  situation  that  affords  it 
scope  for  its  fullest  realization. 

In  Shakespeare  we  have  the  accident  of  genius  that  brings  all  the 
powers  of  poetry  together  to  make  one  poet.  Grasp  of  human  nature, 
the  most  profound,  the  most  subtle  ;  responsiveness  to  emotion  through 
out  its  whole  scale,  from  tragic  pathos  to  rollicking  jollity,  with  a  middle 
range,  over  which  plays  a  humour  like  the  innumerable  twinklings  of 
a  laughing  ocean  ;  powers  of  imagination  so  instinctive  that  to  perceive 
and  to  create  seem  the  same  mental  act ;  a  sense  of  symmetry  and  pro 
portion  that  will  make  everything  it  touches  into  art ;  mastery  of  lan 
guage,  equally  powerful  for  the  language  that  is  the  servant  of  thought 
and  the  language  that  is  a  beauty  in  itself ;  familiarity  with  the  par 
ticular  medium  of  dramatic  representation  so  practised  that  it  seems  a 
misnomer  to  call  it  technique  ;  an  ear  for  music  that  makes  the  rhythm 
of  lyrics,  of  rhyme,  of  verse,  of  prose,  each  seem  natural  while  it  lasts, 
and  spontaneously  varies  these  rhythms  with  every  varying  shade  of 

R.  G.  MOULTON  229 

thought :  all  these  separate  elements  of  poetic  force,  any  one  of  which 
in  conspicuous  degree  might  make  a  poet,  are  in  Shakespeare  found 
in  combination.  The  varied  powers  have  blended  with  so  much  of 
measure  and  harmony  that  force  masks  itself  as  simplicity  ;  what 
Shakespeare  achieves  he  seems  to  achieve  with  *  the  effortless  strength 
of  the  gods  '. 

The  point  of  history  at  which  Shakespeare  appears  is  the  period 
when  the  Renaissance  has  reached  its  full  strength,  and  before  dissipa 
tion  of  its  forces  has  set  in.  The  Renaissance  brought  together  the 
three  great  things  of  literature  :  the  newly  recovered  classics  of  ancient 
Greece,  the  mediaeval  accumulations  of  romance,  and  a  universally 
diffused  Bible.  The  unity  of  Europe  throughout  the  Middle  Ages  had 
constituted  a  vast  gathering-ground  for  the  richest  poetic  material. 
Western  and  oriental  folk-lores,  Christian  religion  and  story,  had  come 
together  in  a  Roman  world  which  was  the  heir  of  the  ancient  Hellenic 
civilization.  In  the  quiescence  of  all  critical  restraint  the  varied  elements 
had  coalesced  into  the  literary  exuberance  which  future  ages  were  to 
wonder  at  as  *  romance  '.  The  whole  material  of  Shakespeare's  plays 
is  drawn  from  this  romance  ;  as  the  Miracle  Play  had  sought  only  to 
dramatize  incidents  of  the  Bible,  so  the  Shakespearian  drama  sets  out  to 
dramatize  mediaeval  histories  and  stories.  On  the  other  hand,  Greek 
tragedy  and  comedy  make  the  most  concentrated  form  of  art  the  world 
has  known  :  a  whole  story  is  compelled  into  the  presentation  of  a  single 
situation,  upon  which  plays  the  combined  power  of  dramatic  and  lyric, 
and  sometimes  even  of  epic  poetry.  The  Shakespearian  conception  of 
plot  stands  to  classical  plot  as  in  music  harmony  stands  to  unison  ; 
the  plots  of  these  plays  are  federations  of  the  single  stories  that  sufficed 
for  classical  dramas,  with  the  details  of  these  stories  romantically 
expanded.  Yet  the  highest  constructive  skill  may  fail  if  the  poet  has 
a  narrow  philosophy  of  human  life.  In  Shakespeare's  age  the  profound 
conception  of  life  which  underlies  the  Bible  had  become  a  general 
possession ;  and  it  was  a  Bible  still  in  its  full  force  as  literature,  un 
touched  as  yet  by  the  coming  tendency  to  stiffen  into  Puritan  literalism 
or  harden  into  religious  controversy.  The  genius  of  Shakespeare 
seizes  the  essentials  of  the  three  grand  literary  types,  and  escapes 
the  threatening  limitations.  In  Shakespeare's  own  phrase,  we  have 
*  the  law  of  writ  and  the  liberty  '  :  rules  of  art  vanish  in  the  higher  law 
of  inspired  creative  liberty. 

With  literature  such  as  this  the  only  method  for  the  teacher  is 
summed  up  in  the  word  interpretation.  The  history  of  criticism  upon 



Shakespeare  comes  out  as  a  series  of  retreating  attacks  ;  critical  systems 
formulated  in  more  limited  fields  of  art,  when  confronted  with  Shake 
spearian  drama,  can  only  reveal  what  in  criticism  had  become  obsolete. 
Analysis  of  Shakespeare  implies  reverent  contemplation  of  the  poetic 
product  until  the  underlying  principles  have  revealed  themselves.  It 
is  the  method  of  natural  science  :  for,  when  Shakespeare  is  the  subject 
of  study,  Poetry  has  become  Nature. 


C.  H.  HERFORD  231 



THE  War  has  made  impracticable  the  co-operation  of  any  German 
Shakespeare  scholar  in  this  collective  tribute  to  his  memory.  But  no 
estrangement,  however  bitter  and  profound — still  less  the  occasional 
extravagance  of  German  claims — can  affect  the  history  of  the  services 
rendered  by  Germany  to  the  study  and  interpretation  of  Shakespeare, 
or  their  claim  to  recognition  at  our  hands.  The  following  sketch  seeks 
merely  to  indicate  some  salient  points.  Of  the  work  done  in  detail  it  is 
impossible  within  the  present  limits  to  offer  even  the  baldest  summary. 
A  history  of  the  growth  and  vicissitudes  of  Shakespeare's  German 
fame,  as  such,  lies  outside  our  present  purpose. 

German  Shakespeare  criticism  began  late.  When  Lessing,  in  the 
Litter aturbrieje  (1759),  delivered  its  first  remarkable  utterance,  Voltaire 
had  been  for  nearly  thirty  years  by  turns  the  patronizing  champion  and 
the  jealous  assailant  of  the  English  poet.  But  the  German  discovery, 
if  tardier,  was  of  far  better  augury.  In  France  Shakespeare  had  to 
contend  with  a  great  national  literary  tradition,  and  with  the  bias,  only 
fitfully  overcome,  of  a  deeply  ingrained  Latin  culture.  In  Germany  he 
threatened  no  national  idols  ;  her  own  earlier  classical  age  was  remote 
and  utterly  forgotten  ;  her  Gallic  taste  was  a  superficial  veneer  ;  and 
she  stood  on  the  verge  of  an  intellectual  and  spiritual  Renascence,  in 
which  the  Shakespearian  influence  itself  was  to  be  one  of  the  most 
potent  factors.  Their  first  acquaintance  with  Shakespeare  was,  both 
to  Lessing  himself,  and  even  more  to  Herder  and  the  young  Goethe, 
a  liberating  experience,  which  discovered  them  to  themselves  and 
discovered  to  them  also,  at  times,  aspects  of  Shakespeare  himself  which 
his  own  countrymen  had  less  distinctly  seen.  In  sheer  critical  calibre 
none  of  the  three  was,  perhaps,  superior  to  the  greatest  of  their  English 
predecessors.  But  they  saw  Shakespeare  with  eyes  freed  from  some 
obstructions  incident  to  the  special  circumstances  and  history  of  England, 



and  quickened  also  by  new  kinds  of  intellectual  and  poetic  experience. 
None  of  them,  certainly,  understood  Shakespeare  so  intimately  as 
Dryden.  But  Lessing,  at  once  a  sharp  assailant  of  French  classicism 
and  a  brilliant  Hellenist,  perceived  more  clearly  than  any  predecessor 
the  extent  of  the  divergence  between  the  former  and  Aristotle;  and 
moreover,  what  had  been  at  most  suggested  by  a  French  rebel  or  two 
before,  that  the  deeper  teaching  of  Aristotle  was  not  traversed  but 
illustrated  and  confirmed  by  Shakespeare.  Lessing  doubtless  put  the 
case  strongly  ;  he  was  making  a  point  against  French  tragedy.  But  his 
trenchant  assertion  that  Shakespeare,  without  knowing  Aristotle,  had 
come  nearer  to  him  than  Corneille,  who  knew  him  well,  was  nevertheless 
a  discovery  ;  one  which  a  more  scholarly  Dryden,  or  a  non-Puritan 
Milton,  might  conceivably  have  anticipated,  but  which  neither 
approached.  The  too  rigid  antithesis  between  Shakespeare's  *  Nature ' 
and  the  *  rules '  in  which  criticism  had  hitherto  moved,  Lessing  in 
effect  broke  down  ;  with  him,  it  is  hardly  too  much  to  say,  begins  the 
study  of  Shakespeare's  mind  and  art. 

Herder,  too,  thought  that  Aristotle  *  would  have  greeted  Shakespeare 
as  a  new  Sophocles '.  He  regarded  both,  however,  less  as  artists  than 
as  poetic  creators  who,  as  such,  had  enlarged  the  realm  of  reality.  This 
Greek  thought  had  become,  as  a  lively  figure  of  speech,  a  commonplace 
of  criticism  ;  with  Herder,  and  the  German  idealists  of  the  next  genera 
tion,  it  became  once  more  a  living  faith :  '  Here  we  have  no  feigner 
(Dichter)'  he  exclaimed  ;  *  but  creation  ;  history  of  the  world  ;  '  a 
conception  which,  however  rhapsodically  stated  and  extravagantly 
applied,  powerfully  promoted  the  study  of  the  Shakespearian  drama 
neither  as  *  imitation  '  of  actuality  nor  as  fictitious  departure  from  it,  but 
as  the  authentic  document  of  a  higher  though  related  form  of  existence, 
with  its  own  laws  of  life,  by  which  alone  it  was  to  be  judged.  To  judge 
it  by  extrinsic  *  rules  '  was  to  commit  an  irrelevance.  Many  had 
defended  or  excused  Shakespeare  for  not  observing  them  :  few,  if  any, 
had  anticipated  Herder's  indignant  repudiation  of  the  very  attempt  to 
defend  him  for  it. 

Goethe,  who,  as  a  Leipzig  student,  *  devoured '  Shakespeare  in  1766, 
withdrew  later  from  the  unqualified  idolatry  of  his  early  manhood.  But 
Goetz  von  Berlichingen(ijj^)  is  beyond  question  the  finest  play  inspired  by 
Shakespeare's  Histories.  And  the  famous  analysis  of  Hamlet  in  WiUielm 
Meister  (Lehrjahre,  Book  iv.  ch.  13),  though  misleading  and  in  some  of  its 
implications  quite  wrong,  virtually  started  the  Hamlet  problem.  The 
simile  of  the  *  costly  vase '  with  the  oak-tree  planted  in  it  did  not  solve,  or 



even  rightly  state,  that  problem,  but  it  threw  out  a  valuable  hint  towards 
its  solution.  Hamlet,  for  Goethe,  was  only  the  frail  vase, — the '  beautiful, 
pure,  and  noble  being  '  on  whom  too  heavy  a  burden  is  laid.  But  it 
was  soon  perceived  that  Hamlet's  strength  as  well  as  his  weakness  is 
implicated  in  his  failure  ;  that  he  is  in  some  sort  the  oak-tree  as  well  as 
the  vase.  A.  W.  Schlegel  was  apparently  the  first  to  declare  that  his 
intellectual  energy  was  a  direct  source  of  his  inaction.  He  even  asserted 
that  Shakespeare  wrote  with  the  intention  of  showing  that  '  calculating 
consideration  which  exhausts  all  the  possible  consequences  of  a  deed  ' 
is  bound  to  have  this  effect.  But  Schlegel  equally  recognized  that 
Hamlet's  intellectual  energy  is  sometimes  the  outcome,  instead  of  the 
cause,  of  his  desire  not  to  act, — that  *  his  far-fetched  scruples  are  often 
mere  pretexts  to  cover  his  want  of  determination ' ;  and  with  this  qualifi 
cation,  his  view,  reinforced,  after  its  publication,  by  the  analogous 
theory  of  Coleridge,  became  predominant  in  Hamlet  discussion  during 
the  greater  part  of  the  nineteenth  century.  None  of  his  German  con 
temporaries  rivalled  Schlegel  in  comprehensive  appreciation  of  Shake 
speare — an  advantage  which  he  owed  to  the  experience  of  transfusing  most 
of  the  plays,  line  by  line,  into  his  own  language  ;  his  translation  is  itself 
a  splendid  tribute  to  Shakespeare,  as  moonlight  to  the  sun.  Among 
contemporary  Englishmen,  Coleridge,  Lamb,  and  Hazlitt,  in  the  pre 
vious  generation  Morgann,  more  than  equalled  him  in  delicacy  and 
sureness  of  feeling.  Yet  Hazlitt  did  not  greatly  overstate  the  case  when 
he  said  that  it  had  been  reserved  for  Schlegel  to  give  reasons  for  the 
faith  in  Shakespeare  which  Englishmen  entertained.  Hazlitt  himself 
no  doubt  brilliantly  took  up  his  own  challenge.  But  Schlegel  had  then 
been  for  ten  years  in  the  field. 

Of  SchlegeFs  fellow  romantics,  even  of  his  brilliant  younger  brother, 
little  need  here  be  said  ;  they  contributed  at  most  to  heighten  the 
prestige  and  popularity  of  the  more  fantastic  side  of  Shakespeare's  art, 
which  appealed  to  their  characteristic  distaste  for  actuality.  Nor  did 
Goethe  and  Schiller  effect  anything  by  their  quasi-classical  adaptations 
of  Romeo  and  Juliet  and  Macbeth  but  the  completer  triumph  of  Shake 
speare's  authentic  art  on  the  German  stage  itself.  To  Eckermann, 
however,  in  his  last  years,  Goethe  addressed  many  acute  and  original 
remarks  about  the  plays,  which  are  still  of  value. 

Among  Schlegel's  contemporaries  there  was  nevertheless  one  who, 
though  in  no  sense  specially  occupied  with  Shakespeare,  was  to  exercise 
an  enormous  influence,  for  a  generation,  upon  German  interpretation  of 
him.  Hegel,  even  more  than  the  later  Goethe,  approached  Shakespeare 


from  the  side  of  the  Greeks,  and  his  aesthetic  ideals,  if  not  inspired  by 
Greek  art,  were  there  most  completely  fulfilled.  But  the  greatest  of 
modern  thinkers  upon  poetry  was  not  likely  to  contribute  nothing  to 
the  criticism  of  the  greatest  modern  dramatist ;  and  Hegel's  theory  of 
tragedy,  as  Mr.  Bradley  has  shown,1  if  inadequate  as  it  stands  to  the 
tragedy  of  Shakespeare,  implicitly  illuminates  some  neglected  aspects 
of  it.  But  Hegel's  effect  upon  Shakespeare  criticism  was  exercised 
mainly  through  his  system  as  a  whole,  which  between  1820  and  1840 
permeated  and  mastered  all  the  currents  of  German  thought.  In 
literary  criticism  his  influence  immensely  stimulated  that  German  super 
stition  of  the  *  fundamental  idea  '  against  which  Goethe  had  levelled 
a  memorable  sarcasm.2  The  well-known  commentary  of  Ulrici  (1839), 
and  in  a  less  degree  that  of  Gervinus  (1849),  were  monuments  of 
intellectual  energy  inspired  by  a  misleading  assumption.  But,  as  so 
constantly  with  Hegel  himself,  falsity  of  the  main  thesis  did  not  exclude 
abundant  by-products  of  subtle  observation  which  would  not  have  been 
made  without  it ;  the  light  might  lead  astray,  but  its  gleam  discovered 
many  a  casual  jewel  by  the  wayside.  After  the  middle  of  the  century 
the  Hegelian  spell  subsided  ;  and  in  the  brilliant  lectures  of  F.  Kreyssig, 
the  philosophy  of  the  *  Idea  '  survives  only  as  an  acute  perception  of 
organic  unity,  shorn  of  metaphysical  exuberance,  and  solidified  with 
shrewd  judgement  and  Elizabethan  scholarship.  How  fruitful,  in  this 
combination,  Hegel's  specific  theory  of  drama  can  still  be,  is  apparent 
from  the  influence  it  has  confessedly  exerted  upon  the  most  important 
contemporary  discussion  of  Shakespearian  tragedy  among  ourselves. 

The  decline  of  Hegel's  prestige  meant  everywhere  a  recovery  of  the 
temper  of  sober,  matter-of-fact  research.  Thenceforward  the  most  im 
portant  Shakespearian  work  of  Germany  was  done  in  this  temper,  fortified 
by  her  iron  industry ;  the  fifty  volumes  of  the  Shakespeare-Jahrbuch  (from 
1864)  are  its  imposing  monument.  In  the  investigation  of  Shakespeare's 
life,  and  in  the  finer  handling  of  his  style  and  verse,  German  scholars  have 
seldom  competed  on  equal  terms  with  those  of  England  and  America.  But 
in  the  exhaustive  analysis  of  published  literary  material  they  can  point  to 
an  extraordinary  mass  of  solid  and  valuable  work.  Merely  as  examples 
it  must  suffice  to  cite  the  numerous  studies  of  Shakespeare's  sources,  of 
his  debt  to  his  dramatic  predecessors,  of  his  use  of  prose  and  verse,  of  his 
grammar  and  syntax,  of  his  mythology  and  folk-lore,  and,  recently,  of 

1  Oxford  Lectures  on  Poetry,  p.  85  f. ;    the  view  that  *  on  both  sides  in  the  tragic 
conflict  there  is  a  spiritual  value '. 

8  Eckermann,  Gesprache,  III,  u/f.  (May  6,  1827). 

C.  H.  HERFORD  235 

his  stage  technique.  The  outlying  topic  of  the  plays  performed  by 
Elizabethan  actors  in  Germany  has  remained  a  German  speciality. 
And  the  gratitude  of  Shakespeare  students  all  over  the  world  is  due  to 
the  great  Lexicon  produced,  in  his  scanty  leisure,  single-handed,  by  the 
labour  and  sagacity  of  Alexander  Schmidt. 

Germany's  contribution  to  Shakespeare  study  may  thus  be  summed 
up  as  of  two  kinds  :  first,  rigorous  and  exhaustive  sifting  of  the  literary 
material ;  second,  a  wealth  of  ideas, — hypotheses,  generalizations, 
apergus — often  fanciful,  sometimes  in  the  highest  degree  extravagant, 
even  laughable,  but  put  forward  with  an  intellectual  seriousness,  and 
applied  with  a  passion  for  truth,  which  have  made  them  often  more 
fruitful  than  the  soberer  speculations  of  more  temperate  minds. 







BY  Avon's  stream,  glassed  in  its  rippling  blue, 
Rises  the  great  grey  church,  now  glorified 
By  a  new  inmate.     See,  the  doors  stand  wide, 

And  little  maids,  first  peeping  shyly  through, 

Steal  in  on  tiptoe.    *  Ah,  the  tale  is  true  ! 
An  open  grave  there  by  the  chancel's  side  ! 
And  Master  Sexton  works  with  what  a  pride  ! 

There  surely  lies  the  man  whom  all  will  rue. 

4  How  oft  we've  met  him  on  our  homeward  way 
Calling  his  dogs,  or  dreaming  'neath  a  tall, 

O'ershadowing  elm  !    and  once  he  spoke  to  you  ! 
The  richest  man  in  Stratford,  so  they  say, 
Aye,  and  the  wisest,  and,  says  Doctor  Hall, 
A  famous  name  he  has  at  London  too  ! ' 

G.  C.  MOORE  SMITH  237 


WE  know  thee  now  at  last,  Poet  divine  ! 

The  clearest-eyed  of  these  three  hundred  years, 

Master  supreme  of  laughter  and  of  tears, 
Magical  Maker  of  the  mightiest  line  ! 
When  to  dark  doubts  our  England  would  resign, 

Thy  patriot-voice  recalls  her  from  her  fears  ; 

Shakespeare  of  England,  still  thy  country  rears 
Thy  pillar  and  with  treasure  loads  thy  shrine  ! 

Nor  only  England's  art  thou.    England's  foe 
Stoops  to  thy  sway,  and  thou  alone  dost  bind 

When  all  the  bonds  of  statecraft  snap  and  cease, 
O  sign  of  comfort  in  a  sky  of  woe  ! 
Above  the  warring  waves  and  shrieking  wind 
Thy  starry  Spirit  shines  and  whispers  *  Peace '. 





SHAKESPEARE  has  been  claimed  as  a  member  of  many  professions, 
a  rider  of  many  hobbies.  It  is  unlikely  that  any  one  will  be  found 
to  maintain  that  he  was  either  a  librarian  or  a  bibliographer.  He 
has,  however,  given  both  librarians  and  bibliographers  plenty  to  do, 
and  from  the  results  of  their  labours  a  few  facts  of  some  interest 
may  be  gleaned  as  to  his  early  popularity,  which  may  be  accepted  as 
a  bibliographer's  *  praise '. 

The  first  proof  of  the  popularity  of  Shakespeare's  writings  with 
his  contemporaries  lies  in  the  numerous  editions  of  his  poems,  and  their 
extreme  rarity.  Venus  and  Adonis  reached  its  twelfth  edition  in  1636, 
and,  according  to  Sir  Sidney  Lee's  reckoning,  of  the  dozen  editions 
less  than  a  score  of  copies  survive,  while  seven  editions  of  Lucrece  (the 
seventh  in  1632)  yield  but  thirty.  A  second  proof  may  be  found  in  the 
frequent  attempts  to  pirate  his  plays.  To  run  the  risk  of  fine  and  for 
feiture  a  piratical  printer  must  have  felt  sure  of  a  speedy  profit  on  his 
outlay  for  print  and  paper,  and  only  plays  that  had  won  a  striking  success 
on  the  boards  could  promise  this.  The  pirates  have  been  credited  with 
more  triumphs  than  they  achieved,  but  their  hits  kept  Shakespeare's 
company  on  the  alert,  and  they  scored  heavily  by  capturing  Henry  V, 
the  most  vigorous  and  patriotic  of  the  histories,  and  less  decisively  with 
The  Merry  Wives  of  Windsor,  popular,  it  is  to  be  feared,  rather  for  its 
grossness  than  its  fun,  and  Romeo  and  Juliet,  the  most  passionate  of  the 
tragedies.  As  Mr.  Madan  has  pointed  out,  we  have  another  proof  of 
the  popularity  of  Romeo  and  Juliet  in  the  special  signs  of  wear  on  the 
leaves  of  this  play  in  the  copy  presented  by  the  Stationers'  Company 
to  the  Bodleian  Library  at  Oxford,  where  it  was  doubtless  read  chiefly 
by  the  young  Bachelors  of  Arts.  Next  to  Romeo  and  Juliet  the  play 
most  popular  with  these  Oxford  readers  was  a  classical  tragedy,  Julius 

By  the  double  test  of  many  editions  and  few  surviving  copies  we 
know  that  in  his  own  day  Shakespeare's  most  striking  successes  were 

A.  W.  POLLARD  239 

won  with  his  Histories.  The  Second  Part  of  King  Henry  IV  fell  flat 
from  the  press,  but  Richard  II,  Richard  III,  the  First  Part  of  King 
Henry  IV ',  and  Henry  V  were  all  great  successes,  running  through  five 
and  six  editions  apiece  before  1623,  and  so  bethumbed  that  in  some 
instances  only  a  single  copy  survives.  It  must  seem  curious  to  us  now 
that  such  of  Shakespeare's  comedies  as  were  printed  during  his  life  sold 
but  poorly.  The  Midsummer  Night's  Dream  may  have  done  fairly  well, 
but  neither  The  Merchant  of  Venice  nor  Much  Ado  about  Nothing  can 
have  brought  much  profit  to  its  publishers,  and  when  The  Merchant  of 
Venice  was  reprinted,  in  1637,  so  slow  was  its  sale  that  as  late  as  1652 
it  was  worth  while  to  print  a  new  title-page  and  reissue  the  old  stock 
under  the  guise  of  another  edition. 

In  the  first  years  after  the  Restoration  it  may  have  seemed  for  a 
while  as  if  Shakespeare  was  on  the  brink  of  passing  into  the  ranks  of 
obsolete  dramatists.  Neither  his  histories  nor  his  comedies  pleased 
the  playgoers  who  took  their  cue  from  King  Charles  II.  But  soon  after 
1670  his  tragedies  began  to  come  by  their  own,  and  by  the  end  of  the 
century  Hamlet,  Julius  Caesar,  and  Othello  were  all  established  successes. 
Thenceforward  Shakespeare's  hold  on  the  theatre  has  never  relaxed. 

Of  Shakespeare's  popularity  with  readers,  as  distinct  from  theatre 
goers  willing  to  buy  a  book  of  the  play,  the  evidence  is  decisive.  Four 
great  Folio  editions  were  sold  in  the  seventeenth  century,  and  in  the 
eighteenth  a  succession  of  editors — Rowe,  Pope,  Theobald,  Hanmer, 
Warburton,  Capell,  Johnson,  Steevens,  Malone — worked  on  his  text. 
Until  more  than  half  the  century  had  elapsed  the  representatives  of  the 
original  publishers  claimed  the  copyright  of  his  works,  but  they  behaved 
with  some  liberality  to  his  editors,  and  it  was  only  the  cheap  editions 
which  they  delayed.  Towards  the  end  of  the  century  these  became 
common,  while  as  early  as  1746  there  appeared  a  French  translation, 
and  sixteen  years  later  a  German.  No  previous  English  writer  had 
attained  any  such  vogue  in  the  century  which  followed  his  death. 

The  collecting  of  early  editions  of  Shakespeare's  works  began  with 
his  editors  and  actors,  Capell,  Steevens,  and  Malone  being  the  most 
prominent  among  the  former,  Garrick  and  Kemble  among  the  latter. 
By  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century  the  four  large  Folio  editions  pub 
lished  in  its  predecessor  had  won  a  place  fairly  high  on  the  list  of  books 
without  which  no  collection  could  be  called  of  the  first  rank  ;  but  the 
Quartos,  perhaps  because  of  the  abuse  with  which  they  had  been  un 
critically  loaded  by  the  very  editors  who  accepted  their  readings,  were 
still  sought  after  only  by  specialists  in  the  English  drama.  In  our  own 


day  a  single  Quarto  has  fetched  a  price  higher  than  had  ever  been  paid 
a  few  years  ago  for  the  finest  copy  of  the  First  Folio,  and  a  complete  set 
of  the  first  editions,  published  before  1623,  has  a  higher  pecuniary 
value  than  any  other  set  of  printed  books  occupying  so  few  inches  of 

Bibliography,  which  of  late  years  has  cleared  up  a  few  misconcep 
tions  of  literary  editors,  notably  by  proving  that  the  edition  of  The 
Merchant  of  Venice  which  they  accepted  as  the  first  was  printed  nine 
teen  years  after  the  date  it  bears  on  its  title,  has  still  something  to  do 
for  Shakespeare.  But  the  task  is  attended  by  an  unusual  difficulty. 
A  few  years  ago  quite  a  promising  attempt  to  determine  the  number 
of  presses  used  in  printing  the  First  Folio  by  the  recurrence  of  certain 
bends  in  the  brass  rules  which  enclose  the  text  on  its  pages  was  wrecked 
by  the  perpetual  attractiveness  of  the  letterpress  at  the  foot  of  the 
columns.  The  problems  of  Shakespeare's  punctuation  and  use  of 
emphasis  capitals,  which  offer  a  fair  hope  of  recovering  the  alternations 
of  level  pace  with  rush  or  pause  with  which  he  intended  his  set  speeches 
to  be  delivered,  are  hampered  by  an  even  greater  hindrance  of  the  same 
kind.  But  here  at  least  the  effort  to  extract  results  from  minute  investi 
gations  is  worth  the  making.  To  help  forward  the  better  understanding 
of  Shakespeare's  text  is  surely  as  good  a  hobby  as  a  quiet  man  need 


A.  W.  WARD 



To  trace  the  influence  exercised  upon  a  nation's  history  by  a  master 
spirit  of  its  literature  could  never  be  an  unfitting  employment  for  the 
student  of  either.  And  least  of  all  could  any  attempt  in  this  direction 
be  deemed  out  of  season,  if  made  at  a  time  when  the  revolving  years 
specially  recall  the  close  of  a  life  to  the  achievements  of  which  a  nation 
owes  part  of  its  greatness,  and  when  its  annals  happen  to  have  reached 
a  stage  destined  to  mark  decisively  the  advance  or  the  decline  of  its 
vitality.  Contemporary  witnesses  of  crises  of  this  sort,  whether  them 
selves  taking  an  active  part  in  the  settlement  of  the  issues  at  stake,  or 
surviving  long  enough  to  look  back  upon  them  as  carried  to  a  conclusion, 
can  rarely  measure  the  whole  bearing,  or  define  the  exact  significance, 
of  the  problems  that  occupy,  or  have  occupied,  the  national  attention. 
But  where  the  moral  and  intellectual  as  well  as  the  material  resources 
of  a  nation  are  consciously  thrown  into  the  balance,  the  contributory 
inspiring  and  sustaining  forces,  among  which  the  products  of  literary 
genius  are  most  assuredly  to  be  numbered,  must  necessarily  be  taken 
into  account  with  the  rest.  The  three  successive  centenaries  of  the 
year  of  Shakespeare's  death,  like  that  year  itself,  sufficiently,  though  not 
with  the  absolute  precision  of  a  school  manual,  mark  the  beginnings 
of  very  distinct  epochs  of  the  highest  importance  for  the  development 
of  our  national  life,  more  especially  in  its  relation  to  the  life  of  other 
nations.  This  aspect  of  a  Shakespeare  Commemoration,  which  brings 
many  of  us  together,  at  least  in  spirit,  in  the  midst  of  the  world's 
strife,  therefore  seems  to  call  for  notice,  however  slight,  together  with 
others  appealing  more  directly  to  the  reverential  gratitude  which  is  his 
for  all  time. 

The  actual  year  of  Shakespeare's  death  is  marked  in  our  political 
history  most  conspicuously  by  an  event — the  fall  of  Somerset — of  so 
secondary  an  importance  as  to  have  made  no  real  difference  in  James  I's 
negotiations  with  Spain  and  in  his  hope  to  make  a  Spanish  alliance  the 
corner-stone  of  his  foreign  policy.  His  mind  was  not  yet  made  up,  and 


it  was  in  this  very  year  that  he  allowed  Raleigh  to  depart  on  his  last 
and  fatal  voyage.  Only  three  years  since,  James  had  given  his  daughter 
in  marriage  to  the  young  Elector  Palatine,  the  crowning  sign  of  his 
intimate  alliance  with  militant  Protestantism.  And,  two  years  later, 
there  was  to  break  out  what  proved  one  of  the  most  protracted  and 
(after  every  allowance  has  been  made  for  overstatement)  one  of  the 
most  calamitous  wars  that  have  at  any  time  convulsed  a  great  part  of 
European  civilization.  That  England,  after  much  and  eager  debate, 
should  as  a  state  not  have  become  involved  in  the  earlier  phases  of  the 
struggle,  and  thus,  with  the  Pope  and  the  Sultan,  have  stood  aside  from 
the  pacification  which  concluded  it,  was  due  to  a  twofold  cause.  But 
though  her  isolation  during  the  whole  later  course  of  the  Thirty  Years' 
War  was  a  consequence  of  the  internal  conflicts  which  rose  to  their 
height  under  James  Fs  successor  and  led  to  the  Great  Civil  War,  it  was 
the  pacific  policy  of  James  himself  that  restrained  her  at  the  outset, 
when  the  country  at  large — not  the  Puritan  or  the  war  party  only,  but 
the  public  as  a  whole,  and  court  and  clergy  with  the  rest — were  in  favour 
of  war  with  Spain.  James  Fs  mind  was  capable  of  grasping  the  condi 
tions  of  the  great  problem  of  peace  or  war,  though  not  of  effectively 
addressing  itself  to  the  actual  situation,  which  is  always  the  touchstone 
of  real  political  capacity  ;  and  he  perceived — what  the  body  of  his 
subjects  could  not  follow  him  in  perceiving — the  danger  of  identifying 
England  with  the  aggressive  and  even,  in  Protestant  Germany, 
isolated  policy  of  his  Calvinist  son-in-law.  But  he  was  blind  to  the 
folly  of  depending  for  the  maintenance  of  peace  on  the  application  of 
diplomatic  pressure  to  Spain,  which  he  sought  to  make  possible  by 
the  futile  fabric  of  the  Spanish  marriage  scheme.  Thus,  in  the  very 
year  in  which  the  Bohemian  war  broke  out,  Raleigh's  life  was  sacrificed 
with  an  impotence  to  remain  unforgotten  either  by  the  hero-victim's 
Puritan  partisans  or  by  the  English  people  at  large. 

What  followed  was  a  policy  of  which  the  whole  nation  shared  the 
humiliation,  before  James  himself  came  to  perceive  its  absolute  failure. 
The  Palatinate  had  been  lost  *  in  '  and  with  Bohemia,  and  James,  who 
had  permitted  English  volunteers  to  go  out  to  save  his  grandchildren's 
inheritance  had  allowed  Spain  to  levy  a  couple  of  regiments  here  to  help 
in  preventing  its  restoration. 

There  is  no  reason  for  concluding  that  Shakespeare  stood  in  any 
distinct  personal  relation  to  the  conflicts  of  opinion  which  at  the  time 
of  his  death  seemed  on  the  eve  of  coming  to  a  head  in  England,  and 
were  soon  to  burst  forth  in  open  warfare  abroad.  What  we  may  assume 

A.  W.  WARD  243 

as  certain  is  that  he  regarded  them,  so  far  as  they  came  under  his 
cognizance,  from  a  point  of  view  to  which  it  was  impossible  for  him  to 
shut  his  eyes.  This  was,  in  a  word,  the  point  of  view  of  an  Englishman. 
Perhaps  no  critic  saw  more  clearly  than  Goethe  that  the  essence  of 
Shakespeare's  dramatic  genius  lies  in  his  direct  reproduction  as  a  living 
reality  of  the  impressions  derived  by  him  from  observation  of  the  world 
around  him  ;  and  it  was  Goethe  who,  in  one  of  the  later  of  his  deliver 
ances  on  the  adored  poet  of  his  strenuous  youth,  spoke  as  follows  of  the 
patriotic  element  never  wanting  in  this  process  of  recasting  : 

*  Shakespeare's  poetic  creations  are  like  a  great  fair,  replete  with 
living  figures  ;  and  this  abundance  he  owes  to  his  native  land.  Every 
where  in  him  we  find  England,  surrounded  by  the  sea,  enveloped  in  fog 
and  clouds,  active  in  every  region  of  the  world.  The  poet  lives  in  a  notable 
and  important  age,  and  reproduces  for  us,  with  much  serenity  of  mood, 
its  culture,  and  indeed  its  mis-culture  also  ;  he  would  not  exercise  so 
great  an  effect  upon  us,  had  he  not  placed  himself  on  the  level  of  the 
strenuous  times  in  which  he  lived.  No  dramatist  has  ever  shown  a  more 
utter  contempt  for  outward  and  visible  costume  ;  he  has  a  thorough 
knowledge  of  the  inner  costume  of  men — as  to  which  they  all  resemble 
one  another.  It  is  said  that  he  produced  excellent  likenesses  of  Romans  ; 
such  is  not  my  opinion.  His  personages  are  all  Englishmen  incarnate ; 
but,  to  be  sure,  they  are  human  beings,  human  beings  from  top  to  toe, 
and  as  such  not  ill-fitted  with  a  Roman  toga.  So  long  as  this  is  under 
stood,  his  anachronisms  are  highly  praiseworthy,  and  the  very  fact  that 
he  offends  so  often  against  the  prescription  of  external  costume  is  what 
makes  his  works  so  full  of  life.' 

The  life  of  Shakespeare  had  run  its  course  under  the  clamour  of 
great  events  without  being  brought  into  direct  contact  with  any  of  them, 
even  after  the  fashion  of  that  of  Cervantes  (who  died  in  the  same  year, 
though  not  on  the  same  day,  and  who  had  borne  a  personal  part  in  the 
glory,  cold  to  him,  of  Lepanto).  The  English  actor,  as  a  favoured 
servant  of  King  James  I's  court,  can  have  been  no  stranger  to  the 
very  genuine  enthusiasm  with  which  both  court  and  public — no  longer 
altogether  synonyms — greeted  the  marriage  of  the  Princess  Elizabeth, 
and  what  could  have  been  more  pleasing  to  the  poet  than  that  the 
occasion  should  be  graced  by  the  revival  of  his  last  play  ?  For  as  such 
The  Tempest,  which  there  is  every  reason  to  conclude  to  have  been 
reproduced  (not  first  put  on  the  stage)  on  this  occasion,  may  assuredly 
be  regarded.  Though  full  of  allegory  like  no  other  of  his  plays,  it  was 
not  intended  or  desired  by  its  author  to  offer  on  his  part  a  solemn 


farewell  either  to  the  stage  or  to  the  life  of  affairs  at  large  ;  yet  it  reveals 
thoughts  of  such  partings,  which  had  passed  through  his  mind  as  pro 
phetic  visitants.  For  the  rest,  there  is  no  reason  for  supposing  the 
retired  burgess  of  Stratford  to  have  been  moved  by  the  dictates  of  politi 
cal  or  of  religious  partisanship.  Of  the  former  he  cannot,  on  reasonable 
consideration  of  the  outward  conditions  of  his  career,  be  suspected, 
and,  happily  for  the  creations  of  his  genius,  he  was  lifted  away  from  the 
atmosphere  of  contending  creeds  by  the  intellectual  freedom  of  vision 
which  the  Renascence  had  brought  as  its  noblest  gift  to  himself  and 
his  peers.  Or  are  we  to  attach  any  significance  to  the  fact  that  soon  after 
James  Fs  accession  Shakespeare  had  been  one  of  the  members  of  his 
company  specially  attached  to  the  household  service  of  the  Archduke 
Albert  and  his  two  Spanish  companies  at  Somerset  House  ?  Or,  again, 
is  it  worth  noting  that  the  Earl  of  Rutland,  to  whom  Shakespeare  quite 
at  the  end  of  his  life  rendered  a  semi-professional  service  in  devising 
an  impresa  for  him  with  Burbage  for  a  royal  tournament,  was  a  strict 
Catholic  as  well  as  a  friend  of  Southampton,  himself  the  descendant  of 
a  Catholic  father  and  grandfather  ?  In  so  far  as  the  Puritans  are  to  be 
looked  upon  as  in  natural  alliance  with  the  war-party  of  James's  later 
years,  Shakespeare's  antipathies  were  against  these  friends  of  Raleigh 
and  foes  of  Spain  ;  but  they  were  antipathies  of  humour  mainly,  of 
which  he  made  a  secret,  though  it  must  be  granted  that  both  in 
London  and  at  Stratford  he  had  cause  for  personal  dislike.  But  his 
reflections  on  the  Puritans  are  far  from  proving  in  the  case  of  Raleigh, 
any  more  than  in  that  of  Essex,  that  he  was  anything  but  unfriendly  to 
the  man  to  whom  their  support  was  more  or  less  accorded.  For  the  rest, 
political  freedom — a  kind  of  freedom  differing  in  conception  from  that 
dear  to  the  heart  of  either  the  Ariels  or  the  Calibans  of  the  social  system 
— and  even  from  the  freedom  of  thought  claimed  by  Stephano — had  not 
yet  presented  itself  to  this  period  of  the  national  life  as  the  ideal  which 
it  was  to  become  to  the  next  generation. 

At  the  same  time,  any  sober  judgement  will  concede  that,  apart 
from  the  influence  of  man  upon  man,  of  which  we  know  nothing,  the 
views  held  by  Shakespeare  on  national  questions  in  his  last  years  would 
be  of  little  consequence,  direct  or  indirect,  as  contributing  to  swell 
currents  of  public  opinion,  or,  still  less,  to  supply  the  motive  force 
by  which  such  currents  are  started  or  sustained.  He  had  ceased  to 
write  for  the  stage,  or  even  to  take  an  active  part  in  directing  or  con 
trolling  its  appeals  to  further  goodwill ;  and  though  his  plays  more 
than  held  their  own  on  the  stage  or  at  court  against  those  of  his  fellow 

A.  W.  WARD 


dramatists,  there  was  no  great  demand  for  printed  copies  of  them  in 
the  author's  lifetime,  and  at  the  time  of  his  death  they  still  awaited  the 
compliment  of  being  published  collectively,  which  was  in  this  very  year 
paid  to  those  of  Ben  Jonson.  In  a  word,  even  if  the  long-lived  popularity 
of  his  first  poem  be  taken  into  account,  he  was  at  this  time,  though 
praised  and  quoted  in  the  world  of  the  court,  among  university  wits, 
and  even  in  the  pulpit,  hardly  more  than  a  favourite  in  his  own  country, 
while  the  knowledge  of  his  plays  which  had  extended  beyond  it  was  as 
meagre  as  it  was  sporadic.  *  Our  Shakespeare  '  was  a  name  to  conjure 
with  among  dilettanti,  and  in  the  world  of  his  old  profession  ;  but  the 
time,  though  fast  approaching,  had  not  quite  come,  when  the  whole 
literary  legacy,  the  bestowal  of  which  caused  him  so  little  care,  would 
be  claimed  as  a  legacy  by  the  nation,  and  put  out  to  interest  in  its  behalf. 

Thus,  if  on  passing  to  the  first  centenary  of  his  death  we  observe 
how  greatly  by  that  date  *  the  case  had  altered  ',  the  process  had  really 
been  natural  and  continuous.  On  the  lapse  of  a  century  from  the  date 
of  his  death,  Shakespeare  is  found,  instead  of  a  favourite  only  in  literary 
circles  and  among  playgoers,  acknowledged  as  a  national  classic  in  his 
own  land,  and  no  longer  a  stranger  to  men  of  letters  outside  it.  In  1716, 
Great  Britain  (as  England  and  Scotland  called  themselves  since  their 
formal  union)  could  look  back  upon  the  victorious  close  of  a  struggle 
of  which  the  defence  of  the  peace  of  Europe  against  systematic  aggression 
had  been  the  final  cause,  and  upon  the  conclusion  of  a  peace  which  at 
least  had  the  merit  of  seeking  to  establish  the  political  system  of  Europe 
on  an  abiding  basis.  The  dynastic  settlement  at  home,  which  virtually 
formed  part  of  the  general  pacification,  had  not  been  undone  by  the 
'15,  and  the  nation  and  the  empire  could  look  forward  to  generations 
of  domestic  prosperity  and  colonial  expansion.  It  was  as  if  the  period 
of  which  the  '  last  four  years  '  of  Queen  Anne  formed  part  had  been 
called  upon  to  take  stock  of  the  literary  achievements  of  a  community, 
whose  political  and  literary  interests  had  never  before  entered  into  so 
close  a  mutual  intimacy,  and  as  if  the  great  writers  whose  names  were 
definitively  inscribed  on  the  roll  of  its  classics,  were,  like  those  of  its  great 
statesmen  and  classics,  to  acquire  a  freehold  there  for  all  future  ages, 
Shakespeare  had  now  been  recognized  as  a  *  great  heir  of  fame  '  by  the 
unprejudiced  pronouncement  of  one  who  was  *  himself  a  Muse  ',  and 
he  stood  established  as  an  English  classic,  to  be  prized  not  only  for  his 
incidental  beauties,  dropped  as  the  careless  ocean  drops  its  pearls,  or 
stealing  on  the  ear  like  *  native  wood-notes  ',  but  for  the  power  of  his 



poetic  diction  as  a  whole,  which,  as  Gray  wrote  in  one  of  his  early  letters, 
makes  *  every  word  in  him  a  picture  '.    Accordingly,  the  first  duty  of 
those  interested  in  vindicating  to  him  his  place  among  English  classics 
seemed  to  be  to  present  it  by  textual  revision  and  commentary  as  what 
it  actually  is  and  signifies.    While  the  literary  leaders  of  the  age — a  Pope, 
an  Addison — held  themselves  called  upon  to  bring  their  names  into 
closest  association  with  his,  the  acknowledgement  of  his  incontestable 
superiority  to  all  formed  a  kind  of  test  of  the  truest  distinction.    The 
uncertainty  of  the  national  self-estimate  in  matters  literary  which  in  the 
latter  part  of  the  previous  century  had  imposed  the  dictates  of  French 
classical  criticism,  more  especially  upon  our  dramatists,  and  to  which 
Dryden  himself  had,  with  his  eyes  open,  given  way,  was  coming  to  an 
end,  both  in  the  study  and  on  the  stage  ;  and  the  nation's  estimate  of  the 
greatest  of  its  poets  was  being  gradually  freed  from  the  bondage  to  which 
it  had  been  subjected  in  deference  to  alien  precept.    At  the  same  time, 
the  welcome  given  to  Shakespeare's  plays  on  the  stage,  the  surest 
criterion  of  the  public  interest  in  his  genius,  rose  steadily  to  unpre 
cedented  heights,  till  it  reached  its  culminating  point  in  the  career  of 
Garrick.    Whatever  elements  of  excess  may  (after  the  manner  of  things 
histrionic)  have  made  themselves  perceptible  in  the  oddly  named,  oddly 
dated,  and  oddly  carried  out  *  Shakespeare's  Jubilee  '  at  Stratford  in 
1769,  Garrick  was  entitled  to  pose  as  its  tutelary  spirit. 

In  1816,  the  second  centenary  of  Shakespeare's  death  found  the 
national  recognition  of  his  genius  still  in  the  ascendant.  In  the  theatre, 
where  the  Kemble  constellation  had  long  magnificently  diffused  its  limpid 
light,  the  fiery  star  of  Edmund  Kean  was  appearing  on  the  horizon  ; 
and  our  libraries — in  England  and  in  America — were  ranging  on  their 
shelves  the  great  variorum  editions  that  were  in  their  totality  to  form  the 
poet's  chief  literary  movement.  He  was  no  longer  an  English  classic 
only  ;  the  German  theatrical  knowledge  of  his  plays,  which  had  begun 
after  a  fashion  in  his  lifetime,  had  now  become  a  literary  knowledge 
also,  and  had  grown  into  a  critical  insight,  since  Lessing  had  claimed 
for  Shakespeare's  genius  the  right  of  determining  for  itself  the  conditions 
of  its  fidelity  to  the  laws  of  the  drama.  The  enthusiasm  proclaimed 
by  a  school  of  writers  whose  exuberant  vitality  was  that  of  a  new  literary 
generation  and  whose  reader  was  the  youthful  Goethe,  had,  with  the 
aid  of  Schlegel's  translation,  become  a  popular  devotion  such  as  never 
before  or  since  has  been  paid  by  any  nation  to  the  greatest  writer  of 
another.  In  the  cosmopolitan  eighteenth  century,  Shakespeare's  great- 

A.  W.  WARD  247 

ness  had  not  remained  a  secret  to  yet  other  countries  ;  but  in  France 
the  fight  had  not  yet  been  fought  out  with  the  traditions  tenaciously 
defended  by  Voltaire. 

Thus  when  in  1816,  after  another  year  of  European  struggle,  this 
time  waged  against  revolutionary  France  and  its  heir  Napoleon,  the 
British  nation  was  in  the  most  powerful  position  ever  held  by  it  in  the 
political  world,  and  once  more  stood  before  Europe  as  the  victorious 
guardian  of  her  peace,  Shakespeare  was  already  becoming  a  world-classic, 
in  a  sense  in  which  this  can  be  predicted  of  very  few  luminaries  in  the 
world's  literary  history.  The  century  which  had  opened  has  witnessed 
an  increase  of  endeavour  and  achievement  in  every  direction  of  Shake 
speare  study  and  Shakespeare  criticism — not  the  least  on  the  side 
where  in  1815  Wordsworth  frankly  acknowledged  the  superiority  of  the 
Germans,  although  Coleridge,  it  must  be  remembered,  indignantly 
repudiated  the  supposition  of  a  direct  indebtedness  to  them.  The  age 
of  comparative  study  of  literature  was  dawning  ;  nor  was  it  without 
significance  that  Guizot,  the  illustrious  Frenchman  who  united  to  his 
appreciation  of  English  political  history  an  insight  into  that  of  the 
civilization  of  Europe,  should  have  fathered  the  first  adequate  French 
translation  of  Shakespeare.  And,  nearing  completion  at  the  present  turn 
of  the  century  as  reckoned  by  our  dates,  the  great  American  variorum 
(to  mention  one  other  Shakespearean  task  handed  down  from  father 
to  son)  brings  home  to  us  by  the  contents  of  this  treasure-house  of 
learning  one  of  the  most  characteristic  features  of  the  age  in  which  we 
move  and  live — cooperation,  as  applied  to  the  work  of  the  master. 

The  Tercentenary  of  Shakespeare's  death,  which,  shorn  of  all 
external  grandeur  by  the  visitation  of  the  present  war,  we  are  now  cele 
brating,  must  fall  short  in  this,  as  in  the  other,  feature  that  it  would 
have  most  signally  displayed.  For  the  world-classic,  whose  literary 
world-empire  is  no  longer  matter  of  dispute,  the  fullness  of  the  homage 
that  has  become  his  right  is  wanting  in  the  tribute  now  being  paid  to  his 
greatness.  As  for  the  country  of  his  birth  and  of  his  loyal  affection,  it 
will  be  truest  to  him  if  it  can  remain  true  to  itself.  For  to  Shakespeare 
no  high  and  holy  motive  of  action  and  service,  least  of  all  the  love  of 
honour  and  the  love  of  country,  are  separable  from  true  manhood,  or 
from  achievement — not  the  mere  thought  of  it  or  wish  for  it — which  is 
manhood's  surest  test. 

A.  W.  WARD. 

R  2 



IF  e'er  I  doubt  of  England,  I  recall 
Gentle  Will  Shakespeare,  her  authentic  son, 
Wombed  in  her  soul  and  with  her  meadows  one, 

Whose  tears  and  laughter  hold  the  world  in  thrall, 

Impartial  bard  of  Briton,  Roman,  Gaul, 
Jew,  Gentile,  white  or  black.     Greek  poets  shun 
Strange  realms  of  song — his  ventures  overrun 

The  globe,  his  sovereign  art  embraces  all. 

Such  too  is  England's  Empire — hers  the  art 
To  hold  all  faiths  and  races  'neath  her  sway, 

An  art  wherein  love  plays  the  better  part. 
Thus  comes  it,  all  beside  her  fight  and  pray, 

While,  like  twin  sons  of  that  same  mighty  heart, 
St.  George  and  Shakespeare  share  one  April  day, 


H.  B.  WHEATLEY  249 


WHAT  is  the  vivid  attraction  that  compels  so  many  of  us  to  love 
our  London  with  a  great  love  ?  By  some  the  cause  of  this  sentiment 
is  styled  *  the  lure  ',  but  this  word  is  too  near  akin  to  '  guile  '  to  harmo 
nize  with  our  feelings,  which  ring  true  as  steel. 

London  has  been  and  is  the  greatest  business  city  of  the  world, 
and  the  history  of  commerce  tells  of  her  greatness.  The  river  also, 
from  which  she  was  born,  bears  upon  its  bosom  the  riches  of  the  earth. 

We  are  all  proud  to  be  *  citizens  of  no  mean  city  ',  but  there  is 
something  more  than  this.  The  Thames  is  full  of  wonders  to  be  seen 
from  the  Tower  to  Westminster  Abbey,  so  that  its  history  is  a  fairy  tale 
of  doings  that  are  written  in  the  history  of  England.  The  names  of 
Chaucer,  Gower,  Richard  II,  Elizabeth,  Sidney,  Raleigh,  Shakespeare, 
and  many  others  are  written  on  its  waters.  The  true  glory  of  London, 
therefore,  is  to  be  found  in  her  association  with  England's  greatest  men. 
To  those  who  love  her  and  know  her  history  the  very  stones  cry  out,  and 
the  poorest  streets,  as  well  as  the  richer  ones,  remind  them  of  the  witchery 
of  these  names.  Above  all  stands  out  the  name  of  Shakespeare,  who 
came  to  her  in  his  youth.  As  a  true  son  he  loved  his  native  town  of 
Stratford,  but  his  character  was  formed  in  London  by  the  great  men 
with  whom  he  associated.  London  was  his  University,  and  teachers 
at  that  University  were  the  wonderful  men  that  abounded  in  *  the 
spacious  days  '  of  Eliza's  reign. 

He  longed  to  return  to  his  home,  but  he  did  not  forget  what  he 
owed  to  London,  and  London  will  never  forget  what  she  owes  to  him. 
He  breathed  the  universal  air  of  human  nature,  but  he  pictured  the 
characters  he  saw  in  London.  The  Roman  mob  in  Julius  Caesar  were 
doubtless  true  to  the  men  of  the  classic  city,  but  they  were  drawn  from 
the  men  of  London,  and  they  were  none  the  less  true  from  being  so 
drawn.  London  is  proud  that  she  did  her  part  in  influencing  that 
master  mind. 

The  outline  of  the  Map  of  Elizabethan  London  placed  upon  one  of 


1916  looks  only  a  small  town,  but  to  the  Elizabethans,  who  were  unable 
to  conceive  of  any  city  growing  to  the  size  of  modern  London,  it  was 
a  big  place.  Though  Shakespeare's  London  was  small,  it  was  of  as  much 
importance  relatively  to  other  cities  and  towns  as  the  present  London  is. 
The  town  still  grows  and  will  continue  to  grow,  but  the  heart  of  the 
city  is  the  same  as  ever  and  the  spirit  of  Shakespeare  pervades  that 
heart.  The  old  city  has  been  altered  almost  out  of  knowledge,  but  the 
relics  of  his  residence  can  still  be  traced. 

Some  may  think  that  there  is  little  to  remind  us  of  Shakespeare 
in  our  modern  London,  but  is  this  really  so  ?  The  confident  answer 
is  '  No  !  certainly  not  ! ' 

Let  us  try  to  call  to  mind  some  of  the  places  associated  with  him. 
The  actual  buildings  of  Gray's  Inn  Hall  and  Middle  Temple  Hall  still 
exist,  where  two  of  the  plays  were  acted  :  The  Comedy  of  Errors  in  1594 
at  the  former,  and  Twelfth  Night  in  1602  at  the  latter.  The  two  Halls 
at  these  dates  were  comparatively  new. 

*  The  Great  Chamber  '  at  Whitehall,  in  which  so  many  of  Shake 
speare's  plays  were  acted  before  the  court,  has  passed  away,  but  Mr. 
Ernest  Law  has  shown  us  where  it  stood,  and  that  beneath  it  were  the 
remains  of  Cardinal  Wolsey's  cellar  at  York  Place  which  still  exists  in 
the  basement  of  the  Board  of  Trade  buildings.  There  is  every  reason 
to  hope  that  this  relic  of  the  past,  brimful  of  interesting  associations, 
will  be  preserved  in  the  new  house  that  is  projected  for  this  Government 

Shakespeare's  earliest  residence  in  London  known  to  us  was  in 
the  parish  of  St.  Helen's,  Bishopsgate,  and  the  fine  church  of  St.  Helen's 
still  remains  a  beautiful  survival.  Bankside,  where  he  lived  for  many 
years  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  Globe  Theatre,  is  much  altered,  but 
we  cannot  walk  by  the  side  of  the  Thames  without  picturing  it  as  it  was 
when  Shakespeare's  influence  there  was  great. 

Those  places  associated  with  Shakespeare  which  have  been  swept 
away  have  left  something  which  reminds  the  student  of  him.  In  the 
windings  of  Blackfriars  his  shadow  is  to  be  seen.  The  roses  of  York 
and  Lancaster  are  still  occasionally  exhibited  in  the  Temple  Gardens, 
although  they  do  not  flourish  there  now  ;  but  there  is  little  in  Ely  Place 
and  Hatton  Garden  to  remind  us  of  strawberries,  although  we  have 
Richard  Ill's  authority  for  believing  that  they  grew  there  once.  In 
Cripplegate  we  can  look  for  the  dwelling  of  Christopher  Mountjoy,  the 
Huguenot  tire-man,  where  Shakespeare  resided  for  a  term.  Farther  on 
we  can  visit  Shoreditch  and  see  where  the  first  theatre  was  built  within 



the  precincts  of  the  dissolved  Priory  of  Haliwell,  with  the  site  of  the 
Curtain  Theatre  near  by,  although  outside  the  precincts. 

When  Bolingbroke  (then  king)  lamented  the  dissolute  conduct  of 
his  son,  he  called  upon  his  courtiers  to  *  Inquire  at  London  'mongst  the 
taverns  there  '.  We  may  obey  the  charge  and  search  for  the  old  *  Boar's 
Head  '  at  Eastcheap  (now  King  William  Street).  We  shall  not  find  it, 
but  we  know  that  it  stood  where  the  statue  of  William  IV  now  stands. 

With  greater  eagerness  we  turn  into  Cheapside  and  seek  for  the  site, 
in  Bread  Street  and  Friday  Street,  of  the  ever  memorable  '  Mermaid  ' 
tavern  where  the  *  Spanish  great  galleon  '  Jonson  met  the  English  *  man 
of  war  '  Shakespeare  in  wit  combats.  This  must  be  the  most  sacred  of 
spots  in  our  memory.  The  very  thought  of  these  meetings  of  the 
choicest  spirits  of  the  age  fills  one's  soul  with  fire. 

Our  huge  London  has  outlived  many  memories,  but  the  memory 
of  our  master-poet  is  not  one  of  these.  It  enlivens  us  as  we  visit  in 
imagination  the  remains  of  old  London,  and  the  glory  of  his  fame  pervades 
the  larger  area  of  to-day. 

London  of  the  twentieth  century  forgets  not  the  long  list  of  her 
noble  sons  and  daughters  in  former  centuries,  and  will  ever  remember 
what  they  have  done  for  her.  She  lives  in  the  past  as  well  as  in  the 
present,  and  her  gratitude  is  worthy  and  complete.  More  and  more 
she  realizes  her  indebtedness  to  these  worthies,  and  in  this  year  of 
special  commemoration  she  renders  her  devoted  homage  to  the  greatest 
genius  of  them  all :  William  Shakespeare. 





'  THE  Mermaid  in  Chepe  *  has  gained  immortal  fame  in  Beaumont's 
famous  lines ;  but  there  was  another  tavern  of  that  name,  *  The  Mermaid,' 
Aldersgate,  hitherto  unnoticed,  which  Shakespearians  will,  I  feel  sure, 
henceforward  associate  with  the  poet  and  with  his  fellow  and  friend  Michael 
Drayton.  This  old  tavern  abutted  on  the  City  Wall  and  was  an  integral 
part  of  the  ancient  City  Gate  itself.  It  is  my  belief  that  in  unbroken 
sequence  it  is  perhaps  the  oldest  inn  in  Europe.  There  is  proof  that  it  is 
the  oldest  in  the  City  of  London.  There,  at  the  most  northerly  gate  of 
the  City,  it  stood  already  in  early  Plantagenet  times.  It  changed  its 
name  and  became  *  The  Mermaid  '  in  1530.  In  1651  it  was  called 
*  The  Fountain  ' ;  after  the  crushing  defeat  of  Preston  Pans  a  Royalist 
owner  dubbed  it  *  The  Mourning  Bush  '.  And  so  it  remained  until 
1874,  when  for  some  reason  it  suddenly  became  *  The  Lord  Raglan '. 
So  it  is  called  to-day.  But  the  glorious  cellars  that  still  remain  are  as 
Shakespeare  knew  them.  The  tavern  stands  at  the  blunted  angle  of 
Aldersgate  and  Gresham  Street,  and  it  harbours  some  thirty  feet  or  more 
of  the  original  London  Wall. 

When  William  Shakespeare  came  to  London  the  landlord  of  *  The 
Mermaid  '  was  a  man  who  would  have  meant  much  to  any  literary 
aspirant  of  that  day. 

His  name  was  William  Goody eare,  author  of  *  The  Voyage  of  the 
Wandering  Knight,  Showing  the  Whole  Course  of  Man's  Life,  How  apt 
he  is  to  follow  Vanity,  and  how  hard  it  is  for  him  to  attain  unto  Virtue* 

But  more  important  than  this  was  his  kinship  with  the  great 
Warwickshire  family,  the  Gooderes,  ever  nobly  associated  with  the 
life-history  of  Shakespeare's  famous  contemporary  Michael  Drayton. 
Sir  Henry  Goodyear  or  Goodere,  of  Polesworth,  had  adopted  Drayton 
when  he  was  a  small  child, 

...  a  proper  goodly  page, 
Much  like  a  pigmy,  scarce  ten  years  of  age. 


Drayton 's  love  for  Anne,  afterwards  Lady  Rainsford,  is  enshrined  in  his 
sonnet-sequence  entitled  *  Idea '. 

j  It  may  be  accepted  that  when  in  London  Drayton  often  visited 
Anne's  kinsman  ;  and  Shakespeare  must  often  have  spent  a  convivial 
evening  with  him  at  this  *  Mermaid  '.  Surely  in  1604,  when  the  great 
dramatist  was  lodging  with  Christopher  Mountjoy  in  Silver  Street,  he 
must  have  visited  the  famous  cellars  which,  even  in  his  day,  were  an 
old-world  haunt. 

We  know  that  in  1603  Michael  Drayton  from  this  tavern  witnessed 
the  entrance  of  the  King  into  the  capital  of  his  new  kingdom.  This 
we  know  from  his  ill-fated  Gratulatory  Poems  and  Paean  Triumphal. 

This  old-world  haunt  should  be  brought  to  notice,  I  think,  on  this 
occasion.  It  has  hitherto  been  forgotten. 




SHAKESPEARE  on  his  journeys  between  London  and  Stratford,  and 
on  his  theatrical  tours,  must  have  got  to  know  Oxford  well.  But  his 
associations  were  with  the  City,  not  the  University.  Some  of  the 
warmest  tributes  during  his  lifetime  to  his  *  quality  *  are  from  the  pen 
of  John  Davies,  who  had  settled  in  Oxford  as  a  calligrapher.  And  the 
familiar  early  tradition  makes  him  an  intimate  of  the  family  of  John 
Davenant,  landlord  of  the  Crown  Inn,  who  was  mayor  of  the  city  in 
1621.  Probably  one  of  Davenant 's  predecessors  was  present  at  the 
Oxford  performance  of  Hamlet,  for  the  Corporation  was  then  enter 
taining  touring  companies,  while  the  University  was  paying  them  to 
leave  its  precincts.  The  academic  authorities  had  their  own  plays  and 
amateur  stage,  and  were  anxious  to  keep  professional  histriones  at  a 
distance.  The  company  to  which  Shakespeare  belonged  was  one  of 
those  which  was  thus  bribed  to  take  itself  off. 

Hence  Shakespeare  had  little  reason  to  love  the  University,  and  we 
must  not  expect  from  him  the  glowing  words  that  Greene  puts  into  the 
mouth  of  the  Emperor  of  Germany  (of  all  people  !)  in  Friar  Bacon  and 
Friar  Bungay  : 

These  Oxford  schooles 
Are  richly  seated  neere  the  riuer  side 

The  toune  gorgeous  with  high  built  colledges, 
And  schollers  seemely  in  their  graue  attire, 
Learned  in  searching  principles  of  art. 

Though  Henry  VIII  contains  a  noble  tribute  to  Wolsey's  great  Oxford 

unfinish'd,  yet  so  famous, 
So  excellent  in  art  and  still  so  rising, 
That  Christendom  shall  ever  speak  his  virtues — 

the  lines  are  probably  from  the  pen  of  Fletcher. 


The  only  direct  reference  by  the  dramatist  to  academic  Oxford  is 
in  the  conversation  between  the  Gloucestershire  Justices  in  2  Henry  IV : 

Shallow.    I  dare  say  my  cousin  William  is  become  a  good  scholar.    He  is  at  Oxford 
still,  is  he  not? 

Silence.   Indeed,  sir,  to  my  cost. 

It  would  seem  that  Shakespeare  had  heard  more  of  the  expense 
than  of  the  benefits  of  a  University  education.  Yet  he  was  naturaliter 
Oxoniensis — a  lover  of  classical  philosophy,  history,  and  poetry,  though 
he  had  to  read  his  Plato,  his  Plutarch,  and  much  of  his  Ovid  (even  if  the 
Bodleian  1502  copy  of  the  Metamorphoses  was  once  his)  at  second  or 
third  hand.  Like  Holinshed,  from  whom  he  learnt  the  annals  of  his  own 
country,  his  interest  was  in  Kings,  not  in  Parliaments,  and,  had  he  lived, 
he  would  doubtless  have  taken  the  side  of  Oxford  in  the  Civil  War. 
The  creator  of  Hamlet  and  Brutus  knew  the  strength  and  the  weakness 
of  the  academic  attitude  to  life.  Prospero,  to  whom  his  study  was 
more  than  his  dukedom,  is  the  type  of  all  who  have  deemed  the 
world  well  lost  for  the  life  of  contemplation.  And  Orlando,  Bassanio, 
and  their  fellows,  are  they  not  akin  to  those  who  drink  deep,  age  after 
age,  of  '  the  joys  of  Oxford  living  ' ;  and  who,  though  they  be 

Young  men  whom  Aristotle  thought 
Unfit  to  learn  moral  philosophy, 

learn  by  the  banks  of  the  Isis  something  of  the  true  issues  and  perspec 
tive  of  life  ?  It  is  a  strange  irony  that  they  should  have  ever  been  for 
bidden  to  attend  plays  that  hold  up  the  mirror  to  their  own  best  selves. 

But  in  spite  of  pains  and  penalties,  undergraduates,  and  even  their 
seniors,  doubtless  sometimes  stole  forth  to  see  performances  by  travelling 
companies,  or  smuggled  the  quarto  play-books  from  the  London  presses 
into  college  rooms  and  cloisters.  The  witty  St.  John's  author  of  Nar 
cissus  (1602-3)  was  familiar  with  /  Henry  IV  and  A  Midsummer  Night's 
Dream.  Nicholas  Richardson  of  Magdalen  even  quoted  twice,  in  1620 
and  1621,  from  St.  Mary's  pulpit  the  passage  in  Romeo  and  Juliet 
beginning : 

"Tis  almost  morning,  I  would  have  thee  gone; 
And  yet  no  further  than  a  wanton's  bird : 

*  applying  it  to  God's  love  to  his  saints  either  hurt  with  sin  or  adversity, 
never  forsaking  them.' 

The  Balcony  scene,  in  which  these  lines  come,  was  (as  Bodley 's  Libra 
rian  has  told  us)  the  favourite  episode  in  Shakespeare's  plays  with  young 
Oxford  readers  in  the  time  of  Charles  I.  For  when  a  copy  of  the  First 


Folio  reached  the  Bodleian  in  1623,  was  bound  by  William  Wildgoose  and 
chained  in  the  *  Arts  End  '  of  the  library,  the  page  that  faced  this  scene 
became  more  worn  by  use  than  any  other.  Next  to  Romeo  and  Juliet 
the  most  popular  plays  with  Bodleian  readers  seem  to  have  been  Julius 
Caesar,  Macbeth,  and  /  Henry  IV.  Yet  it  was  against  the  Founder 's 
wishes  that  the  library  contained  the  First  Folio  at  all.  Sir  Thomas  Bodley 
held  the  orthodox  academic  opinion  of  his  day,  shared  even  by  some 
of  the  best  neo-Latin  dramatists,  that  *  English  plaies  *  were  *  baggage  ' 
books,  not  worthy  of  a  place  on  library  shelves.  Fortunately,  however, 
under  his  agreement  with  the  Stationers'  Company  in  1610-11,  a  copy 
of  the  priceless  volume  was  sent  to  the  Bodleian,  where  it  remained  till 
the  Third  Folio,  with  seven  additional  plays,  appeared  in  1664.  Then 
the  First  Folio  became  a  *  superfluous  book',  and  Oxford  saw  it  no  more 
for  two  centuries  and  a  half.  Its  chance  return,  its  *  recognition '  on  the 
approved  principles  of  Attic  drama,  and  its  re-purchase  at  a  great  price, 
form  a  romance  too  fresh  in  memory  to  need  telling  here. 

It  is  astonishing  that  while  it  lay  open  to  Bodleian  readers,  though 
some,  like  Burton,  quoted  from  it,  only  one  seems  to  have  paid  a  tribute 
to  Shakespeare  in  an  Oxford  publication.  In  1640  a  tragedy  by  Samuel 
Hartlib,  B.A.,  of  Exeter  College,  was  issued,  with  the  customary  verse 
prefaces  by  admiring  friends.  Among  them  was  Nicholas  Downey  of 
the  same  college,  who  declared  that  *  sad  Melpomene  ' 

Casts  off  the  heavy  buskins,  which  she  wore, 
Quickens  her  leaden  pace,  and  runnes  before, 
Hyes  to  pale  Shakespeare's  urne  and  from  his  tombe 
Takes  up  the  bayes,  and  hither  is  she  come. 

Whatever  may  be  thought  of  Downey's  critical  perception  in  looking 
upon  Sicily  and  Naples  as  the  lineal  successor  to  Hamlet  or  Macbeth, 
he  at  any  rate  recognized  that  Shakespeare  was  the  great  exemplar  of 
tragic  art. 

About  forty  years  later  John  Aubrey,  the  Oxford  antiquary,  in  the 
MS.  notes  which  form  the  first  *  brief  life  '  of  the  dramatist,  emphasized 
his  comic  genius  :  *  His  Comedies  will  remaine  witt  as  long  as  the 
English  tongue  is  understood,  for  that  he  handles  mores  hominium* 
And  in  a  miscellany  *  by  Oxford  Hands  '  (1685)  he  was  promised, 
with  a  touch  of  patronage,  eternal  fame  with  *  matchless  Jonson  ' 
and  *  lofty  Lee  ' : 

Shake'spear,  though  rude,  yet  his  immortal  wit 
Shall  never  to  the  stroke  of  time  submit. 


In  the  same  year  the  Fourth  Folio  was  published,  and  on  it  (with  three 
additions)  Gerard  Langbaine  based  his  list  of  the  dramatist's  plays  in 
his  Account  of  the  English  Dramatick  Poets,  published  at  Oxford  in  1691. 
Though  his  detailed  criticisms  are  unilluminating,  his  general  tribute 
to  Shakespeare's  genius  is  more  unqualified  than  any  that  had  yet  come 
from  an  Oxford  pen.  He  does  not  hesitate  to  place  him  on  a  higher 
level  than  even  Jonson  or  Fletcher,  and  boldly  avows  that  he  esteems 
his  plays  *  beyond  any  that  have  ever  been  published  in  our  Language  '. 

In  the  same  year  Langbaine  became  Architypographus  of  the 
University  Press,  but  he  died  in  1692,  and  the  world  had  to  wait  till 
1744  for  the  first  Oxford  edition  of  Shakespeare's  plays.  As  the  Vice- 
Chancellor,  Walter  Hodges,  wrote  his  imprimatur  on  its  title-page  on 
March  26,  the  shades  of  his  Elizabethan  predecessors  might  well  have 
looked  over  his  shoulder  in  agonized  reproof.  For  the  University  was 
issuing  the  *  baggage  books '  in  six  sumptuous  volumes,  finely  printed, 
adorned  with  engravings,  and  edited  (though  anonymously)  by  no  less  a 
person  than  a  former  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Commons,  Sir  Thomas 
Hanmer.  As  *  one  of  the  great  Admirers  of  this  incomparable  Author ' 
he  professed  to  offer  '  a  true  and  correct  edition  of  Shakespeare's  works 
cleared  from  the  corruptions  with  which  they  have  hitherto  abounded  '. 
The  claim  cannot  be  sustained,  for  he  mainly  followed  Pope  and 
Theobald,  and  his  emendations  were  merely  the  result  of  his  own  in 
genuity.  But  in  spite  of  its  critical  deficiencies  Hanmer 's  edition  was,  in 
his  own  phrase,  the  first  '  monument '  raised  to  Shakespeare  in  Oxford. 

It  won  an  enthusiastic  welcome  from  William  Collins,  then  a  demy 
of  Magdalen,  who  declared  that  the  editor  had  done  for  Shakespeare 
what  *  some  former  Hanmer  '  had  done  for  the  scattered  Homeric  lays. 
Collins 's  Epistle,  wherein  Shakespeare  is  hailed  as  *  the  perfect  boast  of 
time'  uniting  *  Tuscan  fancy'  and  *  Athenian  strength',  was  naturally 
included  in  the  second  edition  of  Hanmer 's  work,  issued  in  1770-1. 

It  is  curious  that  for  almost  a  century  from  this  date,  except  for 
a  six-volume  edition  by  Joseph  Rann,  a  Coventry  Vicar,  in  1786,  no 
work  bearing  on  Shakespeare  came  from  the  University  Press.  Neither 
the  general  revival  of  interest  in  the  Elizabethans  due  to  Coleridge, 
Lamb,  and  Hazlitt,  nor  the  presentation  to  the  Bodleian  in  1821  of 
Malone's  magnificent  collection  of  Shakespeariana,  including  the  four 
Folios,  seems  to  have  stimulated  Shakespearian  research  at  Oxford. 

But  Keble's  Latin  Praelectiones,  when  he  was  Professor  of  Poetry 
(1832-41),  contain  so  many  incidental  references  to  the  plays,  especially 
Hamlet,  and  comparisons  between  Greek  and  Elizabethan  dramatic 



methods  that  we  regret  there  is  no  lecture  on  *  Shaksperus  noster  ', 
*  Tragcedorwn  tile  princeps  '  by  the  author  of  The  Christian  Year.  Nor 
did  the  greatest  of  Keble's  successors,  Matthew  Arnold  (1857-67), 
discourse  on  Shakespeare  except  incidentally  in  illustration  of  *  the  grand 
style  '.  It  was  not  till  our  own  day  that  *  Shakespearian  Tragedy  '  was 
illuminated  from  the  Chair  of  Poetry,  and  that  Shakespeare  as  a  '  Man 
of  Letters '  was  interpreted  by  the  first  Oxford  Professor  of  English 

When  the  University  Press  at  last  broke  silence  it  spoke  with  a 
voice  other  than  its  own.  W.  G.  Clark  and  Aldis  Wright,  who  had 
recently  completed  the  '  Cambridge  Shakespeare  ',  brought  out  in  1868 
the  first  Clarendon  Press  edition  of  a  single  Shakespearian  play.  It  was 
The  Merchant  of  Venice,  followed  by  fifteen  others,  of  which  the  twelve 
after  1874  were  edited  by  Wright  alone.  Their  exact  and  fastidious 
scholarship  has  given  them  classic  rank,  but  was  *  caviare '  to  the 
schoolboys  and  schoolgirls  into  whose  hands  they  have  largely  come. 
They  began  that  intimate  connexion  between  the  University  Press  and 
Shakespearian  study  which  has  been  so  marked  a  feature  of  recent 
years.  It  is  to  this  that  we  owe  an  '  Oxford  Shakespeare  '  in  one  volume  ; 
facsimiles  of  the  First  Folio  and  the  Poems  ;  editions  of  the  Shakespeare 
Apocrypha  and  of  the  works  of  many  of  the  dramatist's  contem 
poraries  ;  a  Shakespeare  Glossary  founded  on  the  great  Dictionary  ; 
and  a  monograph  on  Shakespearian  punctuation. 

But  a  playwright  can  only  come  fully  into  his  own  on  the  stage. 
The  tradition  of  hostility  to  the  theatre,  inherited  from  Tudor  times, 
lingered  in  the  University  long  after  the  colleges  had  ceased  to  act  plays. 
The  City,  on  its  part,  discontinued  its  support  of  touring  companies. 
Hence  the  theatre  in  Oxford  from  the  eighteenth  to  the  later  nineteenth 
century  fell  upon  evil  days.  Where  Hamlet  had  once  been  acted,  play 
goers  were  offered  the  ribaldry  of  a  low-class  music-hall.  But  the 
dramatic  revival  in  the  later  Victorian  period  did  not  leave  Oxford 
untouched.  The  performance  of  the  Agamemnon  in  Greek  at  Balliol  in 
1880  encouraged  those  who  were  struggling  to  give  English  drama  a 
worthier  place  in  academic  life.  They  gained  their  end  when  Jowett,  as 
Vice- Chancellor,  authorized  public  performances  by  undergraduates  of 
Greek  or  Shakespearian  plays.  In  December,  1883,  The  Merchant  of 
Venice  was  produced,  and  the  event  had  greater  significance  in  Oxford 
annals  than  probably  any  of  those  present  (including  the  writer  of  this 
article)  fully  realized.  For  the  first  time  a  play  of  Shakespeare  was 
acted  by  members  of  the  University  in  the  Town  Hall,  and  the 



performance  thus  symbolized  the  close  of  the  historic  feud  between  the 
academic  and  civic  authorities  concerning  stage-plays.  But  the  drama 
in  Oxford  needed  a  home  of  its  own,  and  on  February  13,  1886,  the 
New  Theatre  was  opened  with  a  production  of  Twelfth  Night,  the  first 
of  a  long  series  of  Shakespearian  revivals. 

If  therefore  the  dramatist,  like  the  Ghost  of  Hamlet  the  elder 
(a  part  probably  played  by  him  at  Oxford),  were  to  revisit  the  glimpses 
of  the  moon  in  this  Tercentenary  year,  he  would  find  himself  strangely 
welcome  in  the  groves  of  Academe.  With  memories  of  the  past  thick 
upon  him  he  would  steal  into  the  city,  half  fearful  lest  some  new  Mar- 
cellus  might  strike  at  him  with  his  partisan.  But  where  he  had  once, 
as  a  travelling  player,  to  endure  '  the  insolence  of  office ',  he  would  be 
greeted  with  reverent  homage,  and  would  be  made  free  of  the  sanctuary 
of  learning  whose  guardians  had  of  old  driven  him  and  his  professional 
comrades  from  her  gates. 




AT  some  date  in  or  before  1603  the  Tragicall  Historic  of  Hamlet 
Prince  of  Denmarke,  as  the  title-page  of  the  First  Quarto  edition  declares, 
was  acted  by  his  Highnesse  servants  in  the  City  of  London  and  in  the 
Universities  of  Cambridge  and  Oxford.  The  reference  may  be  to  the 
two  University  towns,  but  it  was  a  practice  by  no  means  uncommon 
for  academic  authorities  to  engage  professional  actors  to  exhibit  their 
quality  in  College  Halls,  and  as  Shakespeare  was  one  of  the  players  of 
the  company  in  question,  and  is  reputed  to  have  taken  the  Ghost's  part 
in  Hamlet,  it  is  quite  possible  that  he  visited  either  University  in  a 
professional  capacity.  Slight  enough,  no  doubt,  was  the  knowledge  of 
University  life  which  he  acquired  under  such  conditions.  Apart  from 
the  Fletcherian  reference  to  Oxford  and  Ipswich  in  Henry  VIII,  he 
alludes  to  Oxford  University  but  once,  never  to  Cambridge. 

And  yet  in  the  decade  1590  to  1600  there  is  ample  evidence  that 
Shakespeare  was  profoundly  interested  in  academic  life,  and  even  had 
a  rather  particular  acquaintance  with  the  usages  and  parlance  of  English 
Universities.  His  plays  of  that  time  are  full  of  University  matters. 
The  scene  is  laid  in  France  or  Germany  or  Italy — at  Rheims  or  Witten 
berg  or  Padua — or  he  conjures  up  a  fanciful  *  academe  '  in  Navarre. 
But  the  scene  little  matters.  Universities  all  over  Europe  were  so  much 
alike  in  1600  that  any  of  them  might  stand  for  Cambridge  or  Oxford, 
and  I  think  that  Master  William  Silence,  who  cost  his  father  so  much 
money  at  Oxford,  was  in  very  fact  a  *  school-fellow  '  of  Lucentio,  whose 
father  had  cause  to  complain  that  he  and  his  sizar,  Tranio,  were  spending 
all  at  the  University  of  Padua. 

Shakespeare's  University  plays  are  all  of  his  earlier  dramatic  time. 
First  is  Love's  Labour  ys  Lost  (1591)  with  its  '  little  Academe  '  of  Navarre, 
whose  fantastic  statutes,  three  years'  residence  and  compulsory  sub 
scription  are  so  delightfully  travestied  from  the  conditions  of  Eliza 
bethan  Universities.  Next  in  the  Tzvo  Gentlemen  of  Verona,  Antonio 
debates,  as  the  fathers  of  Sidney  and  Essex  might  have  done,  whether 
to  send  his  son  to  a  studious  University  or  to  the  court.  In  the  Taming 


of  the  Shrew  there  is  Lucentio,  who  comes  to  Padua,  vowed  to  apply 
himself  to  Aristotle's  checks,  and  ends  by  professing  the  Art  to  Love. 
The  *  premeditated  welcomes  of  great  clerks  '  which  are  offered  to 
Theseus  in  the  Midsummer  Night's  Dream  have  reference  to  such  per 
formances  as  *  entertained '  Elizabeth  at  Cambridge  in  1564.  The  same 
matter  crops  up  in  Hamlet,  where  Polonius  tells  of  the  *  brute  part '  which 
he  enacted  in  a  University  play ;  and  Hamlet  himself  is  a  truant  from 
Wittenberg  *  school '.  After  Nestor's  reference  to  *  degrees  in  schools '  in 
Troilus  and  Cressida  Shakespeare  has  no  more  to  say  about  Universities. 

Oxford  City  must  have  been  familiar  to  Shakespeare  in  his  frequent 
journeys  between  Stratford  and  London,  but  it  is  an  odd  fact  that  the 
University  usages  and  phrases  which  he  was  acquainted  with  are  those  of 
Cambridge  rather  than  Oxford.  The  reason  is  obvious.  The  Parnassus 
plays — so  full  of  references  to  Shakespeare — tell  us  of  the  lure  of  the 
stage  for  Cambridge  graduates  who  had  no  prospect  of  preferment  in 
the  University  or  the  learned  professions.  Among  such  graduates  who 
drifted  from  Cambridge  to  the  London  tiring-house  and  there  made 
Shakespeare's  acquaintance  were  Robert  Greene,  who  left  the  University 
in  1583,  M.A.  of  Clare,  but  originally  of  St.  John's;  Thomas  Nash — 
Ingenioso  of  the  Parnassus  plays — also  a  Johnian,  B.A.  in  1586,  who 
'  after  seven  yere  together,  lacking  a  quarter '  quitted  Cambridge  with 
out  taking  his  Master's  degree  ;  and  Kit  Marlowe,  of  Corpus,  who 
graduated  M.A.  in  1587  ;  to  say  nothing  of  John  Day,  of  Caius,  and 
other  Cambridge  dramatists.  After  1601  the  three  former  men  had 
fretted  their  hour  and  were  seen  no  more.  Pickled  herrings  and  Rhenish 
wine  ended  Greene  in  1592  ;  Francis  Archer's  dagger  did  for  Marlowe 
in  1593  ;  and  Nash,  after  sojourn  in  the  Fleet  prison,  died  in  1601. 

So  with  Hamlet  ends,  not  begins,  University  talk  in  Shakespeare. 
But  in  and  about  1590,  when  he  was  perhaps  collaborating  with  Marlowe 
in  Titus  Andronicus  and  The  Third  Part  of  Henry  VI ",  when  Marlowe 
and  Greene  were  busy  with  their  plays  connected  with  University  fiction, 
Faustus  and  Friar  Bacon ,  when  Nash  in  his  preface  to  Greene's  Mena- 
phon  was  addressing  *  the  Gentlemen  Students  of  both  Universities  ', 
we  may  be  sure  that  in  the  tiring-room  or  the  tavern  Shakespeare  heard 
much  Cambridge  talk,  and  hearing  laid  to  heart,  Something  he  may 
have  gathered  from  his  patron,  Southampton,  M.A.  of  St.  John's  in 
1589,  and  something  from  the  players  and  minor  playwrights  among 
whom  were  Cambridge  men  :  the  names  of  William  Kempe,  Robert 
Gough,and  Richard  Robinson,  all  of  them  in  the  First  Folio  list  of  players, 
occur  also  in  the  catalogue  of  Cambridge  graduates  of  1584  to  1592. 


Of  specially  Cambridge  phrase  there  is  little  or  nothing  in  Faustus 
or  Friar  Bacon.  It  is  the  more  remarkable  that  it  repeatedly  crops  out 
in  Shakespeare's  plays.  To  Cambridge  ears  there  is  a  familiar  ring  in 
the  line  of  Titus  Andronicus  : 

Knock  at  his  study,  where,  they  say,  he  keeps. 

4  Keep  '  in  the  sense  *  dwell '  is,  of  course,  common  enough  in  Eliza 
bethan  English.  But  in  its  association  with  *  study  '  I  think  that  it  had 
its  suggestion  in  Cambridge  parlance.  *  Study  '  was  the  regular  Cam 
bridge  name  for  the  closet-space  allotted  to  the  individual  student  in 
the  common  room. 

From  the  earliest  days  to  times  comparatively  recent  a  candidate 
for  a  degree  at  Cambridge  was  required  to  maintain  a  syllogistical 
dispute  in  the  schools,  which  disputation  was  called  *  the  Act '.  If  he 
was  successful  and  admitted  to  the  full  privileges  of  a  graduate  he  was 
said  *  to  commence  '  in  Arts  or  a  Faculty,  and  the  ceremony  at  which 
he  was  so  admitted  was,  and  is,  called  at  Cambridge  *  the  Commence 
ment  '.  If  the  candidate  went  on  to  a  higher  degree  he  was  said  *  to 
proceed  '.  Remark  how  Shakespeare  brings  these  three  terms  together 
in  Timon's  speech  to  Apemantus  (Timon  of  Athens ,  Act  iv,  sc.  iii) : 

Hadst  thou,  like  us  from  our  first  swath  proceeded 
The  sweet  degrees  that  this  brief  world  affords  .  .  . 
Thy  nature  did  commence  in  sufferance,  time 
Hath  made  thee  hard  in't. 

*  Commence  '  and  c  act '  seem  to  have  an  inevitable  attraction  for  one 
another,  the  one  word  suggesting  the  other,  not  always  consciously. 
Thus  in  Falstaffs  praise  of  sack  : 

Learning  is  a  mere  hoard  of  gold  till  sack  commences  it  and  sets  it  in  act  and  use : 

and  in  the  Induction  of  The  Second  Part  of  Henry  IV  Rumour  says  : 

I  ...  still  unfold 
The  acts  commenced  on  this  ball  of  earth : 

and  again  in  The  Second  Part  of  Henry  VI, 

As  Ascanius  did, 

When  he  to  madding  Dido  would  unfold 
His  father's  acts  commenced  in  burning  Troy. 

But  the  clearest  evidence  that  it  was  from  Cambridge,  not  from  Oxford, 
that  Shakespeare  learnt  University  phrase  is  in  Lear's  complaint  to 
Regan  of  his  usage  by  Goneril : 

'Tis  not  in  thee  ...  to  scant  my  sizes. 


'  Size  '  is  the  Cambridge  word  for  a  certain  quantity  of  food  or  drink 
privately  ordered  from  the  buttery,  and  traces  its  origin  to  the  old  assize 
of  bread  and  ale.  The  word  and  its  derivatives  *  sizar ', '  a  sizing ',  and 
the  verb  *  to  size  '  are  quite  peculiar  to  Cambridge  and  its  daughter 
Universities  of  Dublin,  Harvard,  and  Yale.  Minsheu  (1617),  quoted 
in  the  New  English  Dictionary,  says :  *  A  size  is  a  portion  of  bread  and 
drink :  it  is  a  farthing  which  schollers  in  Cambridge  have  at  the  buttery : 
it  is  noted  with  the  letter  S,  as  in  Oxford  with  the  letter  Q  for  halfe  a 
farthing.'  The  *  abatement '  of  sizes  was  a  College  punishment,  alterna 
tive  to  *  gating ',  to  which  there  seems  to  be  allusion  in  Lear's  next  words 
'  to  oppose  the  bolt  against  my  coming  in  \ 


S  2 



What,  Hal !     How  now,  mad  wag !  what  a  devil  dost  thou  in  Warwickshire  ? — 

/  Hen.  IV*  IV.  ii. 

MEMORY  holds  a  store  of  sharp-edged  pleasures  for  the  country- 
born.  Those  who  have  picked  oxslips  from  the  bank  and  *  violets  dim  * 
in  childhood  ask  no  more  of  Paradise.  Shakespeare  knew  the  farmer's 
and  shepherd's  world  hard  by  *  Cotsall ',  where  *  every  'leven  wether 
tods  ', l  and  sacks  are  lost  at  *  Hinckley  fair '.  Only  book-learned  town- 
dwellers,  ignorant  of  all  the  peasant's  heritage  of  ancient  lore,  could 
conceive  of  a  better  upbringing  for  a  poet  and  playwright  than  this.2 
Artistically  Shakespeare  was  of  the  people.  That  is  why  he  refused 
to  be  entirely  swept  away,  like  lesser  men,  by  the  incoming  tide  of  the 
learning  of  '  ancient  Greece  '  and  *  haughty  Rome  '. 

Moreover  he  was  born  in  happy  hour,  when  the  country-side  was 
not  dead  to  the  arts  as  it  is  now.  The  impulse  the  *  old  '  Church  had 
given  to  music  and  to  drama  was  not  wholly  spent,  and  folk-festivals, 
ancient  with  the  immemorial  age  of  heathen  magic,  gave  occasion  for 
traditional  dance  and  play  and  song.  It  is  true  that  Shakespeare's 
lifetime  saw  the  professionalizing  of  the  stage  and  the  passing  of  folk- 
play  and  church-play,  but  in  his  boyhood  acting  was  still  a  people's  art. 
Captain  Cox  led  out  the  *  good-hearted  men  '  of  Coventry  in  the  folk- 
play  of  Hox-Tuesday  before  Elizabeth  at  Kenilworth,  Herod  of  Jewry 
put  in  his  great  voice  all  the  megalomania  of  tyrants  from  the  founda 
tion  of  the  world,  and  the  village  youth  at  Pentecost  still  played  their 
4  pageants  of  delight '.  Not  that  even  these  players  could  escape  the 
all-pervading  atmosphere  of  classic  story.  Robin  Hood  and  his  tradi 
tional  merry  company  of  the  greenwood  might  figure  in  the  Whitsun 
pastorals,  but  the  most  moving  scene  was  that 

Of  Ariadne  passioning 
For  Theseus'  perjury  and  unjust  flight. 

1  Winter's  Tale,  IV.  ii. 

2  Mr.  Greenwood,  in  Is  there  a  Shakespeare  Problem  .^  argues  that  Stratford  furnished 
no  '  culture '  for  a  *  rustic '. 


The  truth  is  that  all  Warwickshire  that  touch  the  great  roads, 
that  cross  the  county  from  side  to  side,  was  accessible  to  the  ideas  of 
the  larger  world.  Shakespeare  was  no  dweller  in  dreary  uplands  where 
no  travellers  pass  ;  like  his  own  Orlando  he  was  *  inland  bred  '.  Along 
midland  highways  came  the  throng  of  puppet-show  and  ape-bearers, 
tumblers,  bearwards,  and  musicians,1  and  also  the  intellectual  aristocracy 
of  the  highway,  the  Queen 's  servants  or  my  lord  of  Leicester's  players, 
who  for  two  hours'  space  could  fill  the  guildhall  or  the  inn-yard  with 
Greece  and  Italy,  kings  and  clowns,  and  all  the  wide  compass  of  the 
earth  and  heaven. 

Was  it  after  a  scene  like  this  that  the  restlessness  of  youth  and  the 
pull  of  London  took  him  from  his  own  people  ?  Yet  he  came  back. 
So  Warwickshire,  which  gave  him  '  birth  '  and  taught  him  all  the  life 
and  tradition  of  the  country-side,  so  that  in  his  country  scenes  there 
seems  gathered  up  all  the  age  and  sweetness  of  England,  gave  him 
*  sepulture  '  also  at  the  last. 

1  The  Coventry  Chamberlains'  accounts  from  1574  contain  scores  of  entries  of 
payments  to  travelling1  entertainers.  One  entry  has  '  To  hym  that  hath  the  poppitts 
&  Camell  xs.'  See  for  the  folk- festivals  Chambers's  Mediaeval  Stage. 






Gracious  England  hath 
Lent  us  good  Siward  and  ten  thousand  men. 

Macbeth  ;,  IV.  Hi.  189-90. 

ON  these  cold  hills  had  wak'd  no  flower  of  song 
In  darkened  l  Celtic  or  clear  English  tongue,3 
When  in  imprisoned  loneliness  a  king, 
Turning  an  illumin'd  page,  heard  Chaucer  sing 
Of  Arcite,  Palamon,  and  Emilye, 
Of  Biela-co-il,  Daunger  and  Curteisye, 
Of  Fortune's  cruel  wheel,  of  Love  more  stern  : 
'  The  lyf  so  short,  the  craft  so  long  to  lerne, 
The  assay  so  hard,  so  sharp  the  conquering  — 
Al  this  mene  I  by  love,  that  my  felyng 
Astonieth  with  his  wonderful  working, 
So  sore  y-wis  that  when  I  on  him  think 
Not  wot  I  wel  wher  that  I  flete  or  sink/ 
Back  to  the  North  that  exiled  monarch  brought 
Love,  and  the  love  of  song,  the  subtle  thought, 
Well-ordered  words  and  interwoven  rhyme, 
Colours  of  *  rhetorike  ',  syllables  that  keep  time 
In  cadenced  music  to  a  beating  heart, 
And  in  the  '  King's  Quhair  '  flowered  a  nation's  art. 
Chaucer  sang  clear  in  Scottish  tune  and  phrase, 
Or  told  again  on  loud,  chill  northern  days  3 

1  Regarded  from  the  point  of  view  of  English-speaking  peoples,  who  have  seldom 
mastered  the  tongue  of  their  Celtic  neighbours. 

2  No  really  artistic  poetry.     In  verse  the  writer  has  taken  the  liberty  to  touch  only 
salient  features,  omitting  much  that  would  be  requisite  to  a  sober  history. 

The  Northin  wind  had  purifyit  the  Air, 
And  sched  the  mistie  cloudis  fra  the  skte; 
The  froist  fresit,  the  blastis  bitterly 
Fra  Pole  Artick  come  quhisling  loud  and  schill. 

Henryson  :    The  Testament  of  Cresseid. 

H.  J.  C.  GRIERSON  267 

Of  '  glorious  Troylus  '  and  fair  Cresseid, 
Fickle  and  false,  how  she  a  leper  died. 
In  Dunbar's  *  aureate  terms  '  and  riotous  rhymes 
A  dying  splendour  lit  brave  James's  times, 
Last  King  who  in  the  old  way  to  Lady  kneel'd , 
And  died,  as  Roland  died,  on  Flodden  field. 

From  Scotland  ebbed  the  tide  of  song,  the  day 

Which  broke  with  James  with  James  faded  away. 

But  in  the  town  where  Chaucer  by  the  Thames 

Kept  his  '  red-lined  accounts ',  or  saw  at  games, 

Upon  her  meadows  green  with  daisies  pied, 

The  King  of  Love,  Alcestis  by  his  side, 

And  by  that  stream,  now  other  poets  sung 

To  Chaucer's  lyre  retuned,  with  golden  tongue, 

Of  stately  swans,  and  maidens  gathering  posies 

Of  virgin  lilies  and  of  vermeil  roses 

*  Against  the  brydale  day  which  was  not  long  ; 

Sweet  Themnes  !    runne  softly,  till  I  end  my  song  ;  * 

Sang  of  Love's  lordship,  and  how  Astrophell 

In  Stella's  kiss  drank  from  the  Muses'  well.1 

A  Scottish  poet  conned  that  well-woven  strain 

And,  but  in  alien  speech,  he  too  was  fain 

To  sing  of  love  by  Death2  annulled,  and  love 

Which  flows  from  earth  back  to  its  source  above.3 

Of  Sidney's,  Spenser's  pipe  an  echo  rung 

Through  Hawthornden  when  William  Drummond  sung. 

1  I  never  drank  of  Aganippe's  well  .  .  . 

How  then?  sure  this  it  is 
My  lips  are  sweet,  inspired  with  Stella's  kiss. 

Sidney,  Astrophel  and  Stella,  Ixxiv. 

2  Drummond's  Sonnets,  &c.,  on  Miss  Cunningham,  written  before  and  after  her  death. 

3  Leave  me,  O,  Love!   which  reachest  but  to  dust; 

Then,  farewell,  World !    Thy  uttermost  I  see ! 
Eternal  Love!  maintain  thy  life  in  me! 

Sidney,  Astrophel  and  Stella,  ex. 

Compare  Drummond's  Mania,  or  Sp^r^t^tal  Poems. 


Then  Shakespeare  came,  and  the  soft,  pastoral  stream 
Of  English  song,  sweet  as  midsummer  dream, 
Floated  far  out  and  widened  to  a  sea 
Life-giving,  life-reflecting  ;    fresh  and  free  ; 
Stinging  and  salt  and  bitter  ;    now  a-dance 
In  sun-steeped  bays  of  comedy  and  romance  ; 
Anon  'neath  skies  whose  hurrying  cloud-rack  hides 
The  consoling  sun,  in  chafe  of  clashing  tides, 
And  thunder  of  the  storms  that  vex  and  mar 
Rolling  its  surf-lit  waves  toward  Fate's  fixed  star. 
And  all  those  waves  were  lives  of  passionate  men  : 
The  unpitying,  unpitied  soul  of  Richard  ;    then 
Hamlet's  sore  spirit  that  suffered  scarce  knowing  why ; 
Love's  perfect  martyr,  the  *  free  and  open  '  Moor  ; 
lago  damn'd  and  Desdemona  pure  ; 
Proud  Coriolanus ;  and  mighty  Antony 
Dying  in  a  kiss  on  Cleopatra's  knee  ; 
The  supreme  agony  of  outraged  Lear  ; 
And  with  these,  shaken  by  remorse  and  fear, 
The  spectre-haunted  Scottish  thane,  and  she 
Through  whose  strong  soul  in  dreams  alone  we  see. 

So  Scotland  woke  to  fame  in  Shakespeare's  page, 

Land  of  the  *  blasted  heath '  where  tempests  rage 

And  witches  roam,  of  ancient  castles  too 

Where  swallows  build,  which  gentle  breezes  woo. 

And  when  in  Scotland  poetry  woke  again, 

From  Shakespeare  came  the  new  heart-searching  strain. 

His  '  wood-notes  wild  '  their  sweetest  echo  found 

In  the  Lark's  song  that  soared  from  Scottish  ground. 

From  Shakespeare  Scott  the  inspiration  drew 

Peopled  his  page  with  such  a  motley  crew. 

It  was  not  given  him  to  evoke  again 

The  moving  vision  of  great  souls  in  pain, 

H.  J.  C.  GRIERSON  269 

But  o'er  his  humbler  characters  and  scenes, 

An  Edie  Ochiltree  or  Jeannie  Deans, 

A  summer  breeze  from  Shakespeare's  Arden  sings, 

An  echo  of  his  genial  laughter  rings. 

Since  Shakespeare  who  our  *  language  had  at  large  ' 

His  anger  or  his  mockery  to  discharge 

In  torrent  of  words,  in  flaming  figure  and  phrase, 

The  high  light  and  deep  shadow  of  stormy  days, 

As  he  the  Rembrandt  of  our  English  prose, 

In  whose  rich  page  the  life  of  history  glows, 

On  Mirabeau  and  '  sea-green  Robespierre ', 

Louis,  his  hapless  Queen,  Frederick  and  Oliver, 

As  in  the  round  Globe  theatre  it  shone 

On  Richard,  Henry,  Faulconbridge  and  John  ? 

So  by  this  shrine  the  Scottish  Muse  may  stand 
Holding  her  statelier  sister  by  the  hand. 
Bone  of  his  bone,  clay  of  his  sacred  clay 
Are  we  who  face  the  welt 'ring  storm  to-day, 
One  '  happy  breed  of  men  ',  one  *  little  world  ' 
On  whom  the  hissing  waves  of  hate  are  hurl'd, 
The  envy  and  hatred  of  *  less  happier  '  men  ; 
Yet  see  o'er  English  meadow  and  Scottish  glen, 
On  fields  of  France,  and  in  far  scatter 'd  lands, 
Western  sierras,  Australasian  strands, 
Mesopotamian  marsh  and  African  sands, 
Through  April  glow  of  pride  and  shadow  of  pain 
The  sun  of  Shakespeare's  England  rise  again. 

H.  J.  C.  GRIERSON. 



SOME  years  ago,  when  I  was  turning  over  the  pages  of  Stanyhurst's 
Description  of  Ireland,  the  feeling  was  borne  in  on  me  that  Shakespeare 
had  been  there  before.  At  a  time  when  the  thoughts  of  the  civilized 
world  turn  to  Shakespeare  with  feelings  of  reverence  and  gratitude, 
it  may  be  worth  while  to  recall  what  was  then  noted,  for  it  may  tell  us 
how  Shakespeare  came  to  think  of  Ireland  ;  and  a  knowledge  of  the 
source  from  which  Shakespeare  derived  such  knowledge  of  Ireland  as 
he  possessed  may  aid  us  in  understanding  what  he  has  written. 

The  Description  of  Ireland  forms  part  of  Holinshed's  Chronicles, 
the  storehouse  which  had  furnished  Shakespeare  with  plots  for  his 
Histories.  From  the  Scottish  part  of  the  Chronicles  he  took  the  story 
of  Macbeth.  And  in  the  well-worn  Holinshed  which  he  brought  with 
him  to  New  Place,  he  found  the  story  of  a  British  king  which  was  the 
foundation  of  Cymbeline.  In  the  Irish  portion  of  the  Chronicles  he 
failed  to  discover  material  which  might  be  usefully  worked  into  History 
or  Tragedy.  But  if  he  found  no  plot,  he  found  what  was  to  his  purpose 
when  he  would  introduce  into  one  of  his  Histories,  a  typical  Irishman, 
Welshman,  and  Scotchman. 

The  stage  Irishman  of  Ben  Jonson  and  of  Dekker  was  a  comic 
footman.  When  Shakespeare  presented  an  Irishman  on  the  stage,  he 
was  a  soldier  and  a  gentleman.  Captain  Macmorris  was  *  an  Irishman, 
a  very  valiant  gentleman,  i'  faith  '  (Henry  V,  ill.  ii.  71). 

It  has  been  often  noted  that  the  character  of  Shakespeare's  Welsh 
man  has  been  drawn  with  greater  care  than  his  Irishman  or  his  Scot. 
'  Fluellen,  the  Welshman  with  his  comic  phlegm  and  manly  severity, 
is  the  most  elaborate  of  these  figures.' 1  Fluellen  was  drawn  from  the 
life.  Captain  Macmorris  may  be  described  as  a  lay  figure,  clad  in  certain 
habiliments  indicative  of  his  nationality.  Captain  Macmorris — whose 
name,  a  form  of  Macmorrough,  was  probably  a  reminiscence  of  the 
story  of  MacMorrough  and  O'Rorke's  wife,  as  told  by  Holinshed — 
appears  in  one  scene  only,  in  which  his  national  characteristics  are 

1  Dr.  Brandes,  William  Shakespeare :  a  Critical  Sfndy. 

D.  H.  MADDEN  271 

huddled  one  upon  another  *  with  impossible  conveyance '.  All  of  these 
characteristics  will  be  found  in  Stany hurst's  Description  :  '  Tish  ill 
done/  cries  Macmorris  ;  *  the  work  ish  give  over,  the  trumpet  sound 
the  retreat.  By  my  hand,  I  swear,  and  my  father's  soul,  the  work  ish 
ill  done  ;  it  ish  give  over  ;  I  would  have  bio  wed  up  the  town,  so  Chrish 
save  me,  la  !  in  an  hour.  .  .  .  The  town  is  beseeched,  and  the  trumpet 
calls  us  to  the  breach  ;  and  we  talk,  and  be  Chrish,  do  nothing  :  'tis 
shame  for  us  all ;  so  God  sa'  me,  'tis  shame  to  stand  still ;  it  is  shame, 
be  my  hand  ;  and  there  is  throats  to  be  cut.' 

Such  is  Shakespeare's  Macmorris,  Miles  Gloriosus.  Stanyhurst's  Irish 
man  is  *  an  excellent  horseman,  delighted  with  wars ',  and  *  verie  glorious  '. 

Captain  Macmorris  falls  into  a  rage  at  a  remark  of  Fluellen,  which 
if  he  had  been  allowed  to  finish  it,  would  probably  have  proved  in 
offensive  enough. 

Fluellen.  Captain  Macmorris,  I  think,  look  you,  under  your  correction;  there  is 
not  many  of  your  nation — 

Macmorris.  Of  my  nation !  What  ish  my  nation  ?  Ish  a  villain  and  a  bastard,  and  a 
knave,  and  a  rascal — what  ish  my  nation  ?  Who  talks  of  my  nation  ? 

'  The  Irishman  ',  says  Stany hurst,  *  standeth  so  much  on  his  gentilitie 
that  he  turneth  anie  one  of  the  English  sept  and  planted  in  Ireland 
Bovdeagh  Galteagh  !  that  is  English  Churle  ! '  Hence  it  was  that  Shake 
speare  derived  his  conception  of  an  Irish  gentleman,  valorous,  *  verie 
glorious  ',  choleric,  standing  upon  his  dignity  as  a  gentleman,  and  ready 
to  resent  an  imaginary  insult  to  his  nation. 

Richard  Stanyhurst  was  a  fine  scholar,  educated  at  the  famous 
school  at  Kilkenny  which  was  in  later  years  the  school  of  Swift,  Berkeley, 
and  Congreve.  He  is  placed  with  Spenser  among  the  poets  of  the  day 
by  Gabriel  Harvey.  He  was  with  Harvey  one  of  the  little  knot  of  pedants 
who  tried  to  *  reform  '  English  poetry  by  forcing  it  into  conformity  with 
the  laws  of  the  classical  metres,  and  his  reputation  would  stand  higher 
if  he  had  not  ventured  on  a  translation  of  the  Aeneid  of  Virgil  into 
English  hexameters.  There  is  much  in  the  Description  to  interest 
a  reader  so  eager  for  information  as  Shakespeare,  and  many  things  that 
he  read  there  held  a  place  in  his  memory.  *  We  shall  lose  our  time/ 
says  Caliban  to  his  co-conspirators  against  his  wonder-working  master, 
*  and  all  be  turned  to  barnacles,  or  to  apes  '  (Tempest,  iv.  i.  248).  Various 
books  have  been  suggested  by  commentators,  including  Gerard's  Herbal 
(1597),  which  might  have  suggested  to  Shakespeare  the  marvel  of  the 
barnacle.  They  need  not  have  gone  beyond  a  book  that  Shakespeare 
certainly  had  studied,  his  Holinshed,  for  in  it  the  story  of  the  barnacle 


is  to  be  found  told  in  a  manner  which  was  likely  to  remain  fixed  in  his 
memory.  '  The  inhabitants  of  Ireland  are  accustomed  to  move  question 
whether  barnacles  be  fish  or  flesh,  and  as  yet  they  are  not  fullie  resolved, 
but  most  usuallie  the  religious  of  strictest  abstinence  doo  eat  them  on 
fish  daies.'  According  to  Giraldus  Cambrensis  and  Polychronicon  the 
*  Irish  cleargie  in  this  point  straie  '.  Stany hurst,  loyal  to  his  country, 
defends  the  Irish  clergy,  holding  '  according  to  my  simple  judgement 
under  the  correction  of  both  parties  that  the  barnacle  is  neither  fish 
nor  flesh,  but  rather  a  meane  between  both  ',  and  thereforth  not  *  within 
the  compasse  of  the  estatute  '. 

The  interesting  discussion  which  follows  of  the  question  whether 
there  *  should  be  anie  living  thing  that  was  not  fish  nor  flesh  '  may  have 
been  present  to  Trinculo  when  he  thus  resolved  the  difficulty  : 

What  have  we  here  ?  a  man  or  a  fish  ?  dead  or  alive  ?  A  fish :  he  smells  like  a 
fish  ;  a  very  ancient  and  fish-like  smell ;  a  kind  of  not  of  the  newest  Poor-John.  A  strange 
fish ...  I  do  now  let  loose  my  opinion  ;  hold  it  no  longer :  this  is  no  fish. —  Tempest,  II.  ii.  26. 

Shakespeare  was  the  first  to  use  the  word  *  bard  ',  which,  in  its 
origin,  was  applied  to  the  Celtic  order  of  minstrel  poets,  in  the  sense 
which  is  thus  noted  in  the  New  English  Dictionary, '  a  lyric  or  epic  poet, 
"  a  singer  ",  a  poet  generally.'  The  earliest  instance  of  the  use  of  the 
word  in  this  sense  which  is  quoted  in  the  Dictionary,  is  the  following 
passage  in  Antony  and  Cleopatra  : 

Enobarbiis.  Ho!   hearts,  tongues,  figures,  scribes,  bards,  poets,  cannot 
Think,  speak,  cast,  write,  sing,  number,  ho! 
His  love  to  Antony. — III.  ii.  16. 

His  '  Holinshed  '  told  him  of  the  Irish  bards  ;  how  *  the  lords  and 
gentlemen  stand  in  great  awe  *  of  a  bard  if  he  be  not  bountifully  awarded, 
and  some  such  discomfortable  bard  was  present  to  the  mind  of  Richard 
when  he  said,  *  A  bard  of  Ireland  told  me  once  I  should  not  live  long 
after  I  saw  Richmond  *  (Richard  HI,  rv.  ii.  105).  Stray  reminiscences  of 
Stany  hurst's  Description  may  be  found  scattered  here  and  there  through 
out  the  works  of  Shakespeare.  There  he  found  a  eulogy  of  aqua  vitae, 
praising  it  into  the  ninth  degree,  and  enumerating  twenty-four  of  its 
virtues,  somewhat  in  the  manner  of  FalstafFs  commendation  of  sack. 
This  may  have  suggested  Master  Ford's  unwillingness  to  '  trust  an 
Irishman  with  my  aqua-vitae  bottle  '. 

Now  for  our  Irish  wars: 

We  must  supplant  those  rough  rug-headed  kerns, 
Which  live  like  venom  where  no  venom  else 
But  only  they  have  privilege  to  live.— Richard  77,  II.  i.  156, 



This  is  the  Irish  policy  put  into  the  mouth  of  Richard,  as  he  departs 
for  Ireland.  How  came  Shakespeare  to  speak  of  the  native  Irish  with 
contempt  as  rug-headed  kerns,  and  with  hatred,  as  venom  which 
St.  Patrick  had  failed  to  expel  ?  A  question  to  be  asked,  for  Shakespeare 
is  wont  to  attribute  to  characters  in  his  play  ideas  and  feelings  which 
were  present  to  his  mind,  and  if  another  explanation  of  these  words 
were  forthcoming,  it  would  be  welcome. 

Shakespeare's  kerns  were  *  rug-headed  ',  and  *  shag-hair'd  ',  for  he 
had  read  in  the  Description  of  Ireland  of  the  *  long  crisped  bushes  of 
heare  which  they  term  glibs,  and  the  same  they  nourish  with  all  their 
cunning '. 

He  had  also  read  in  Stanyhurst  an  account  of  *  how  Saint  Patricke 
was  mooved  to  expell  all  the  venemous  wormes  out  of  Ireland  ',  a 
slanderous  suggestion  from  the  Dialogues  of  Alanus  Copus ;  '  Did 
fortasse  inde  a  nonnullis  solet  nihil  esse  in  Hibernia  venenati  praeter 

This  suggestion  is  quoted  with  indignation  by  Stanyhurst,  but 
Shakespeare,  with  dramatic  propriety,  put  it  into  the  mouth  of  Richard 
when  he  was  about  to  carry  out  the  drastic  policy  of  warfare,  followed 
by  the  *  supplanting  '  of  the  native  Irish.  To  Irishmen  it  is  satisfactory 
to  know  that  Richard's  speech  is  not  to  be  attributed  to  Shakespeare's 
personal  experience  of  Irishmen,  but  to  his  custom  of  making  use,  for 
the  purpose  of  his  dramas,  of  ideas  suggested  by  some  book  which 
might  happen  to  be  before  him  at  the  time,  or  which  recurred  to  his 
memory.  As  when  writing  The  Tempest,  he  put  into  the  mouth  of 
Gonzalo,  Montaigne's  description  of  an  ideal  commonwealth,  so,  with 
greater  dramatic  propriety,  he  attributed  to  Richard  an  idea  which 
attracted  his  attention  as  he  read  it  in  his  Holinshed. 

Every  link  connecting  Ireland  with  Shakespeare  is  deserving  of  note 
at  this  time,  and  another  can  be  found  in  the  earnest  and  successful 
study  of  his  works,  for  which  Ireland  has  been  for  many  years  dis 
tinguished.  Malone  was  in  the  first  ranks  of  Shakespearian  scholars 
in  the  eighteenth  century.  The  Right  Honourable  John  Monck  Mason, 
a  well-known  member  of  the  Irish  Parliament,  was  also  known  as  a 
Shakespearian  commentator,  and  as  the  author  of  a  volume  on  the 
works  of  Beaumont  and  Fletcher.  In  later  years  Ireland  has  given  to 
Shakespearian  literature  John  Kells  Ingram,  Vice-Provost  of  Trinity 
College,  Dublin,  and  Mr.  Craig,  editor  of  the  Oxford  Shakespeare. 
Edward  Dowden  will  be  gratefully  remembered  as  the  author  of 
Shakespeare,  His  Mind  and  Art.  These  were  all  graduates  of  the 


University  of  Dublin,  in  which  Edward  Dowden  was  for  many  years 
Professor  of  English  Literature.  Plays  of  Shakespeare  were  often  acted 
in  the  private  theatricals  which  were  a  well-known  feature  of  Irish 
society  in  the  eighteenth  century.  A  record  of  performances  at  a 
country  house  in  the  county  of  Kilkenny,  in  the  year  1774,  has  been 
preserved.  Four  of  Shakespeare's  plays  were  presented.  Sir  Hercules 
Langrishe  (the  host),  Henry  Grattan  and  Henry  Flood  were  the  leading 
members  of  the  company.  Two  playbills  have  been  preserved  ;  one  of 
Macbeth,  in  which  Grattan  took  the  part  of  Macduff,  another  of  She 
Stoops  to  Conquer  y  in  which  it  is  interesting  to  find  him  in  the  part  of 
Mrs.  Hardcastle. 

To-day  an  earnest  and  active  Dublin  branch  of  the  Empire 
Shakespeare  Society  celebrates  the  tercentenary  of  the  Master's  death  ; 
with  maimed  rites,  by  reason  of  the  war,  but  with  love  of  the  man,  and 
gratitude  for  the  priceless  gift  that  the  civilized  world  has  received  at 
his  hands. 

D.  H.  MADDEN. 







How  it  fared  with  a   Gael  at  Stratford-on-*A*von 

CEITHEARNACH  de  Mhuimhneach  mhor  mhodar- 
tha  mhordhalach  do  bhi  ann,  agus  do  baineadh 
a  gcuid  talmhan  6  n-a  shinnsearaibh,  gur  crochadh 

moran  diobh  agus  gur  dibreadh  tar  lear  moran  eile, 

preabaire  nar  mhaith  aon  rud  do  dhuine  riamh  do 
dheanfadh  dioghbhail  do.  Agus  tharla  gur  sheol 
an  Chineamhain  e  go  Sacsana,  imeasg  a  namhad,  dar 
leis.  Agus  thainig  se  go  Stratford  ar  an  abhainn, 
agus  taidhbhrigheadh  fis  no  aisling  d6  ann  sin.  Agus 
ar  n-eirghe  dho  as  an  aisling  sin  dubhairt  se  gur 
mhaith  se  do  na  Sacsanachaibh,  agus  go  maithfeadh 
go  deo,  chomh  fad  agus  bheadh  se  insan  ait  sin 
imeasg  na  ndaoine  do  chonnaic  se  in  a  aisling.  Agus 
do  nocht  don  Chraoibhm  a  bhfacaidh  se  ins  an  bhfis 
sin,  agus  do  rinne  an  laoi. 

A  great,  proud,  mo 
rose  kerne,  a  Mun- 
ster  man,  who  had 
sorely  suffered,  he 
and  his  folk;  hatred 
was  in  his  heart.  The 
Sasanach  were  to  him 
his  enemies,  and  lo! 
by  chance  he  found 
himself  in  their  land, 
and  he  came  to  Strat 
ford  on  the  Avon,  or 
river,  and  there  there 
was  revealed  to  him  a 
vision  or  a  dream,  and 
on  rising  up  out  of  that 
vision  he  said  that  he 
forgave  the  Sasanachs, 
and  would  forgive 
them  for  ever,  so  long 
as  he  could  be  in  that 
place  amongst  the 
people  whom  he  saw 
in  his  dream.  And 
he  revealed  what  he 
had  seen  in  that  vision 
to  the  Creeveen,  and 
he  made  this  lay. 



x>o  DAin  tern'  fAO$Al 
t)o  CiomAin  m6  dm*  OAtle  Anonn, 

CIA  An  Aic  A  scArfAi-oe  m6 
ACc  foijt  50  ScfACpoivo  AH  An  ADAinn  I 

Til  n-AU  liom  SAcrAnA.    "Do  tutll 

A  great  trouble  drove  me  from  my  home  ; 
To  what  place  should  I  come 

But  east  to  Stratford  on  the  Avon ! 


England  was  not  liked  of  me, 

O'n  njAe-oeAl,  An  cfj\  pn  mAllACc  cnom.      But  I  remembered  this  not, 



n\6  AIJ\  pn 


t)l  pUAC  t>o'n  $AU  in/  C|\oit>e  50  buAn 
An  t>fons  te  cluAin  •o'f-ig  m6  50  torn. 
,  Aj\1f,  An  pUAC  r<"  «A»«» 
m6  AS  SctvACpojtt)  Ap  An  AOAinn. 


"PA  gluAifeACC  fArti  Ajt 
"Of  uttieAf  mo  fuit,  A'f  ConnAc 
t)!of  AS  ScfAcpoft)  Af  An 


I  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


I  brooded  on  my  ills, 
But  all  this  went  away 
At  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


On  the  stream  in  a  boat 
I  closed  my  eyes,  and  beheld  a  vision 
At  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 

ConnAic  mft  mdjUn  CAi-oDpe  AS  CCACC 
AS  fiuoAl  le  flACc  AnAll  'f  Anon:i, 

imCioll  AH  mo 
AS  Steepen*)  AH  An 

SiGt>  cusAm  tlAtnlec,  mAH  x>o  Of 

An  UAIH  'oo  ClAoi"0  polflniuf  cnoir, 
'"Oul  le  hOpeliA,  tirti  AH  tiim ; 

tMof  AS  SCHACPOHX)  AH  An  ADAinn. 

Conn  AC  An  c-lu'OAi'Ce,  fS^lA  'f  f$iAn, 

A'f  P^HCIA  leif .    t>A  UAt  A  CeAnn, 
tH  An  Wf  *nA  full,  Aff  An  ftiAt  t)UAn  ; 

t)iOf  AS  ScHACpont)  AH  An  ADAinn. 


tAims  Homeo  le  n-A 

ilumn  Aoioinn  05,  T>AH  Horn, 

t>n&CAin  r>tine  An  cj\it> ; 

t)fof  AS  ScpAcpopt)  AH  An  AOAinn. 

Spectres  saw  I  a-coming, 
Crowding  round  my  boat 
At  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


Here  comes  Hamlet 
As  when  he  slew  Polonius, 
With  Ophelia  hand  in  hand : 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


Shylock  with  scale  and  knife, 
Portia  beside  him, 
Death  in  his  eye: 

I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


Romeo  with  his  love 
And  the  Friar: 

I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 




CotinAic  m£  iff  'f 

An  feAndif  cffon  ceAnn-eA-ocfom  torn, 
B  A  DeifC  DAin-t>iAt>At  'SA  teAnAtfiAin 

t)lof  AS  ScfACpofo  Af  An  ADAinn. 


Lear,  his  hair  on  the  wind; 
Bent,  light-headed,  bare  old  man, 
And  the  fiendish  daughters  following  himr 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 

An  uAinciseAf  nA  $Afs 
AS  ciom&nc  foimpi  A  pf  Of 
£ua  An  cfeAn-fi$  Af  UAff  A  fS*ne  — 
tHof  AS  Scf  Atpofo  Af  An  ADAinn. 

ConnAic  me  Obef  on  'f  A  t\io$An 

A'f  too'OAG  CAOD  teo.    A$  A 
t>!  ctoigeAnn  A*f  ct«Af  A  Af  Ait  ' 

t)!of  AS  Scf  Acpo^t)  Af  An 

ConnAic  n\6 


*S  An 
t)!of  AS 

;   t)f  peAp  cAot 

Cf10f  A6-C|\6Af  AC,  Ann, 

An  At»Ainn. 

An  OeAn  t)enffeA6  65  t>An  f6itf» 

"Oo  tACc  An  c-6At>,  -oo  t>!  f!  Ann, 
'S  An  tntipAC  tiAf  At  •out»sofm 

t)iof  AS  Scf  Acpoft)  Af  An 

"Do  t>!  mo  -6A  fuit  -ouncA  x>tut 

'S  mo  DAT)  AS  fiut»At  Af  t>^ff  nA  -oconn.. 
A6c  ConnAC  IAT>  mAf  -o'freicpmn  tfl  I 

t)iof  AS  Scf  Acpofo  Af  An  At»Ainn. 


mAC  6m'  fA-oAfc 
fin.     CAmis  cuitteA*0  Ann, 
5An  fsit  AS  CCACC  50  ft  of  ; 
AS  ScfAcpofo  Af  An  ADAinn. 

t)'AitniseAf  cutt),  niof  Aitm$eAf  cum, 

"Oo  t>!  mo  Cofp  SAn  tflt  SAn  meADAif, 
'S  mo  ffiit  SAn  tfiAfsuf,  mAf  freAf  mAfo  ; 

t)iof  AS  ScfAcpofO  Af  An 


Lo,  the  furious  Lady 
Egging  her  feeble  spouse, 
The  old  King's  blood  on  her  dagger-point 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


I  saw  Oberon  and  his  Queen 
And  the  Clown  with  the  ass  head: 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


A  Countess  too  ;  and  the  criss-cross  gartered 

one  was  there, 

And  the  merry  drunkard  mocking  him  i 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


The  Venetian  lady,  young,  white,  gentlej 
She  too  was  there; 
And  the  Moor,  noble,  dark,  tall: 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


My  eyes  were  shut, 
My  boat  was  moving; 
I  saw  them  as  I  might  see  you: 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon, 


They  passed  away, 
Others  came, 
A-coming  all  the  time: 

I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


Some  I  knew  and  some  not, 
My  body  had  no  feeling, 
My  eyes  were  without  sight  like  a  dead  man  r 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 



A'f  t>'imeis,  -o'lmeis, 

,  mAitfCACA  A'f  ctAnn, 

ipott,  f  eAn  A>  *s  ; 

t)fof  AS  ScfACf.o|vo  Af  AH  AOAinn. 


A'f  pfionnfAl,  CAftoois, 
fif  fCACA,  -OAOine  finne 
CAiptfnf  mdfA  A'f  cinceif!  ; 

tMof  AS  ScfACfOfo  A|\  An  ADAinn. 



Vucc  iAffAi-6  T>6if.ce, 
nUisx>ine  f  fttrfte,  ceAnn 

tMof  AS  ScfAC^ofO  Af  An  AOAinn 


T)o  Dl-olf  fin  AS  CCACC  im' 

HI  f  AnAt-ofr  f  0  tA"°A  Atin» 
T)o  fiflfcAt  mo  OA|\c  f  0  t«At  "oon  rti«ix>  fin  ; 

t)lof  AS  Scf  ACf.ofo  A|\  An  AOAinn. 


tmf  -OtAfO  -ouine  A 

mo  t>A|\c  A|\  f.AX>  <5n 
SAC  CAif  Af  f.A-0  -oo  m'  teAnmAin  ; 
AS  8cfACf.ot\x>  A|\  An  ADAinn. 

Ann  fin  An  cSitMteAn  Aotoinn 

mAn  Ot&C  nA  ^cf  Ann, 
'f  AS  fl  A  f-tCAfs  of  cionn  mo  f  <hle  ; 

t)lOf  AS   SCfACJTOjVO   Af  An   ADAinn. 

•oe  ibf  eAp,  mft  Af  mo  IAISC  ; 
tiAim  "  cA  fAio  An  t>f  ons  ?  " 

til  fAID   ACC   Ced   Af  UA6CAf   Ulf  56  ; 

t)iof  AS  ScfACfofo  Af  An  ADAinn. 

"CA  AlC   AttlAin   It)'   tlf-f  C  A   SACf  Atn 

'TlA  mblonn  -oo  nAmAit)  mAot  A*f  t>Att, 

fAOf   O  SAnSAIT),  f.UAt,  f-OfmAX), 

'SI  An  AIC  fm  ScfACfOfT)  Af  An  ADAinn. 


There  came  and  went 
Fathers,  mothers,  children, 
Nobles  and  mean,  old  and  young 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


Kings,  princes,  bishops,  priests, 
Statesmen,  folk  who  made  sport, 
Captains,  tinkers: 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


Robed  queens,  courtiers, 
Beggars,  clerics  of  the  pen, 
Maidens,  merchants: 

I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


All  came  round  about  me: 
They  stayed  not  long, 
My  barque  moved  too  quickly: 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon, 


I  left  them  behind, 
My  barque  sails  far  from  the  band, 
Every  ghost  ceased  to  follow: 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


Then  came  the  beautiful  fairy  woman, 
Ti tania,  like  the  blossom  of  the  trees ; 
She  laid  her  wand  about  my  eyes: 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


With  a  start  I  awoke, 
I  looked  about — Where  were  the  folk? 
Nothing  but  a  mist  on  the  top  of  the  waters : 
I  was  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


There  is  one  place  in  thy  land,  O  Sasana, 
In  which  thy  foe  becomes  blunt  and  blind, 
Free  from  all  hate — 
That  is  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 




*oo  fst^ot*  wo 

A  /Atbion  nA  DjrocAt 
ITU  DUAiteAnn  nArhAit)  A^\  x>o 
C6g  6  cum  Scf Acpoft)  A|\  An  ADAinn. 


f  eit\se  Af 

Cuitfine  ACc  fmuAfnce 
Seflt  6  50  Sc|\ACpo|vo  Af  An 


-f  A  t)'imif  An  T)p  AOI  fin  •o^Aoi'6cA(ic 
m6  ffof  Anoif  im*  t^nn, 
'4  tff  uiAiteAtfinAf  «Aim-fe 
tnfi  AS  Scf  ACJ:OI\IO  AJ\  An  At)Ainn. 


O  Albion, 

If  an  enemy  knock  at  thy  door, 

Take  him  to  Stratford  on  the  Avon! 


And  from  his  heart  shall  pass 
All  ill  will  and  the  fever  of  hate, 
Mindful  of  nought  but  thoughts  of  that  Druid : 
Yea,  speed  him  to  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


On  me  that  Druid  has  worked  a  druidism, 
Which  I  now  set  down  here  in  my  verse: 
He  has  won  pardon  from  me  for  his  land: 
I  at  Stratford  on  the  Avon. 


T  2 



THAT  Shakespeare  ever  crossed  the  borders  of  Wales  must  be 
regarded  as  doubtful.  It  is  on  record  that  the  company  of  actors  to 
which  he  belonged  once  visited  Chester,  and  they  were  often  at  Shrews 
bury,  so  that  his  eyes  must  have  rested  on  the  dim  blue  line  of  hills  in 
the  west,  for  the  lowland  dweller  an  old-time  menace,  but  for  the  poet 
a  land  of  faery  and  romance.  No  closer  acquaintance  with  the  country 
was  needed  to  enable  Shakespeare  to  create,  as  he  does  in  Cymbeline,  the 
atmosphere  of  the  Welsh  highlands,  the  clear,  bracing  air,  the  towering 
heights,  the  *  rain  and  wind  *  of  *  dark  December ',  the  *  goodly  days  ' 
when  it  was  a  joy  to  bid  *  good  morrow  to  the  sun '.  His  mind  seems, 
indeed,  to  play  around  Milford  Haven  with  a  peculiar  affection  :  tell 
me,  says  Imogen — 

how  far  it  is 

To  this  same  blessed  Milford :  and  by  the  way 
Tell  me  how  Wales  was  made  so  happy  as 
To  inherit  such  a  haven — 

lines  which  ring  with  a  very  different  temper  from  the  curt  allusions  in 
Richard  II  to  Flint  and  the  mysterious  *  Barkloughly '.  Yet,  even  in 
this  case,  although  local  zeal  has  found  in  Hoyle's  Mouth,  near  Tenby, 
the  original  of  the  cave  of  Belarius,  it  is  not  necessary  to  assume  that 
there  was  personal  knowledge  of  the  scene.  Milford  Haven  was  famous 
throughout  the  Tudor  period  as  the  landing-place  of  the  Earl  of  Rich 
mond  in  1485,  and  for  admirers  of  Robert,  Earl  of  Essex,  the  district  had 
the  further  interest  that  here,  at  Lamphey,  their  hero  had  spent  his  early 
days  and  made  his  best  and  closest  friends. 

But  if  Shakespeare  never  set  foot  in  Wales,  it  is  beyond  question 
that  he  met  many  Welshmen.  Age-long  barriers  had  broken  down  with 
the  accession  to  the  throne  of  the  Tudors  of  Penmynydd,  and  during  the 
sixteenth  century  the  stream  of  migration  from  Wales  into  England  had 
been  unceasing,  until  at  the  death  of  Elizabeth  Welshmen  were  to  be 

J.  E.  LLOYD  281 

found  in  every  department  of  English  public  life,  as  churchmen,  soldiers, 
sailors,  courtiers,  merchants,  travellers,  and  scholars.  Some  were  men 
of  good  education,  like  Sir  John  Salisbury  of  Lleweni,  one  of  the  cul 
tured  patrons  of  the  writers  of  Shakespeare's  circle,  and  Hugh  Holland 
of  Denbigh,  the  author  of  verses  which  are  prefixed  to  the  First  Folio. 
Such  might  say  with  Glendower, 

I  can  speak  English,  lord,  as  well  as  you. 

Others,  no  doubt,  spoke  with  an  accent  which  bore  testimony  to  their 
origin  :  their  English,  like  Fluellen's,  was  not  '  in  the  native  garb ', 
making  them  easy  targets  for  popular  ridicule  and  fair  game  for  the 
dramatist  who  wished  to  add  to  his  gallery  of  eccentrics.  It  is  not  to 
be  wondered  at,  then,  that  Shakespeare's  wide  compass  of  contem 
porary  portraiture  should  include  Welshmen  :  what  is  remarkable  is 
that  the  painting  should  be  so  genial  and  sympathetic,  as  though  the 
poet  wished  to  record  a  conviction  that  the  Welsh  deserved  honourable 
treatment,  as  a  people  whose  solid  virtues  made  ample  amends  for  their 
little  weaknesses  and  vagaries.  All  foolish  deriders  of  the  Welsh  race 
are  rebuked  in  Pistol's  discomfiture,  and  the  last  word  upon  the  subject 
is  Gower's — '  henceforth  let  a  Welsh  correction  teach  you  a  good  Eng 
lish  condition '.  The  poet's  universal  sympathy  had  dissolved  the 
inborn  prejudices  of  the  Warwickshire  rustic. 

It  does  not  at  all  detract  from  the  clarity  of  Shakespeare's  insight 
and  the  breadth  of  his  humanity  in  this  matter  that  his  attitude  was  in 
accord  with  the  current  fashion  in  court  circles  in  his  day.  With  a 
Welsh  queen  on  the  throne,  who  drew  her  descent  in  an  uninterrupted 
male  line  from  Ednyfed  Fychan,  the  chief  counsellor  of  Llywelyn  the 
Great,  it  was  natural  that  Wales  should  be  in  favour  and  that  Welshmen 
should  hold  their  heads  high.  When  Henry  V,  on  the  strength  of  his 
birth  at  Monmouth,  is  made  to  say, 

For  I  am  Welsh,  you  know,  good  countryman, 

he  speaks  as  Elizabeth  herself  might  have  done,  and  we  may,  perhaps, 
conjecture  that  it  was  the  rough  loyalty  of  some  Elizabethan  Welshman 
which  first  suggested  the  honest,  but  uncourtly  response :  *  By  Jeshu, 
I  am  your  majesty's  countryman,  I  care  not  who  know  it ;  I  will  confess 
it  to  all  the  'orld.'  But  Shakespeare's  study  of  the  Welsh  temperament 
is  far  from  being  a  mere  echo  of  the  polite  adulation  of  the  court ;  it 
bears  witness  to  close  observation,  not  only  of  tricks  of  utterance  and 


idiom,  but  also  of  bearing  and  manner,  of  mental  habit  and  moral  out 
look.  The  first  experiment  was  Glendower.  Holinshed  is,  of  course, 
responsible  for  his  appearance  in  Henry  IV,  but  Holinshed  supplies  no 
detail  in  the  full-length  portrait  painted  by  Shakespeare,  beyond  a  vague 
reference  to  '  art  magike  '.  The 

worthy  gentleman, 
Exceedingly  well  read  and  profited 
In  strange  concealments,  valiant  as  a  lion 
And  wondrous  affable  and  as  bountiful 
As  mines  of  India, 

is  entirely  the  creation  of  the  poet — a  dignified  picture  of  the  soldier 
and  man  of  letters,  not  without  a  certain  element  of  the  bizarre,  for 
Glendower  takes  himself  very  seriously  and  his  superstitions  are  house 
hold  gods,  upon  which  no  one  may  lay  unhallowed  hands.  It  would 
seem  as  though  this  first  attempt  to  portray  a  Welshman  had  suggested 
a  new  field  to  Shakespeare,  for  in  his  next  play — The  Merry  Wives  of 
Windsor — he  gives  us  another,  of  a  more  ordinary  type,  the  Welsh  parson 
and  schoolmaster.  Among  the  poet's  teachers  at  Stratford  was  one 
Thomas  Jenkins,  and  critics  have  not  failed  to  see  in  him  the  original  of 
Sir  Hugh  Evans.  The  character  is,  undoubtedly,  drawn  from  life,  and 
it  may  not  be  fanciful  to  read  in  it  the  malicious  zest  of  an  old  pupil  paying 
off  the  scores  of  many  a  year  gone  by.  Yet  the  satire  is  not  unkindly. 
Sir  Hugh  is  peppery,  a  solemn  corrector  of  other  men's  errors  of  speech, 
happily  oblivious  of  his  own,  but  he  is  very  human,  with  his  '  chollors  ' 
and  *  trempling  of  mind ',  his  quaint  medley  of  madrigal  and  psalm,  and 
his  generous  readiness  to  make  common  cause  with  his  rival,  when  he 
finds  that  both  have  been  befooled.  The  part  he  plays  is  honest,  if 
somewhat  unclerical,  and  he  has  the  true  Welsh  turn  for  edification : 
'  Sir  John  Falstaff,  serve  Got  and  leave  your  desires,  and  fairies  will  not 
pinse  you.' 

But  Shakespeare's  finished  portrait  of  the  Welshman  is,  assuredly, 
Fluellen,  which  followed  quickly  upon  the  heels  of  Sir  Hugh  Evans  and 
may,  perhaps,  be  regarded  as  a  development  of  the  earlier  sketch.  For 
this,  also,  an  original  has  been  found  in  Sir  Roger  Williams,  a  famous 
warrior  of  the  Elizabethan  age,  who  fought  in  France  and  in  the  Nether 
lands  and  was  buried  in  1595  in  St.  Paul's  Cathedral.  Colour  is  given 
to  the  suggestion  by  the  fact  that  Williams  was  the  author  of  a  Brief 
Discourse  of  War  which  attained  to  some  reputation  ;  like  Fluellen,  he 
was  an  authority  upon  the  *  disciplines  of  the  wars  '  and  '  the  pristine 
wars  of  the  Romans '.  Be  this  as  it  may,  there  is  no  more  lovable  figure 

J.  E.  LLOYD  283 

in  Shakespeare  than  the  Welsh  captain  si  Henry  V — choleric,  impetuous, 
born  to  set  the  world  to  rights,  prodigal  of  his  learning,  and  lavish  of 
good  advice,  but  inflexibly  honest,  valorous,  patriotic,  one  whose  zeal 
for  righteousness  is  unfeigned  and  without  malice.  By  Fluellen  Welsh 
men  of  all  ages  are  content  to  stand  or  fall ;  they  are  willing  that  the 
world  should  laugh  at  his  humours,  for  they  know  that  in  him  Shake 
speare  has  given  undying  expression  to  the  best  qualities  of  the  race  to> 
which  they  belong. 

J.  E.  LLOYD. 


/  GOF 

BROS  hil  Taliesin  ac  Aneirin  gynt, 
A  wybu  gyntaf  yn  yr  ynys  hon 
Gyfaredd  can,  a'i  clywai'n  lief  y  gwynt, 
Yn  nhrydar  adar,  ac  yn  nhwrf  y  don, — 
Dros  wlad  a  noddai  feirdd  o  oes  i  oes, 
A  gadwai'n  fyw  drwy'r  nos  y  dwyfol  dan, 
A  brofodd  ias  a  gwynfyd  cerdd  a'i  gloes, 
A  arddel  fyth  yr  enw  o  wlad  y  gan, — 
Y  dygaf  hyn  o  ged  i  gof  yr  un 
A  ganodd  fel  na  chanodd  bardd  erioed, 
A  dreiddiodd  holl  ddirgelion  calon  dyn : 
Allweddau'r  enaid  yn  ei  law  a  roed. 
Brenin  y  beirdd,  fry  ar  ei  orsedd  hardd  ; 
Fythol  ddieilfydd,  ddihefelydd  fardd  ! 






FOR  the  race  of  Taliesin  and  Aneirin  of  old, 

Who  knew  first  in  this  isle 

The  enchantment  of  song,  who  heard  it  in  the  cry  of  the  wind, 

In  the  twitter  of  birds,  and  in  the  roar  of  the  wave, — 

For  a  land  that  cherished  bards  from  age  to  age, 

That  kept  alive  through  the  night  the  divine  fire, 

That  has  felt  the  thrill  and  joy  of  song  and  its  pang, 

That  claims  still  the  name  of  the  land  of  song, — 

I  bring  this  tribute  to  the  memory  of  one 

Who  sang  as  no  poet  ever  sang, 

Who  penetrated  all  the  secrets  of  man's  heart : 

The  keys  of  the  soul  were  committed  unto  his  hand. 

King  of  the  bards,  high  on  his  stately  throne  ; 

Eternally  incomparable,  peerless  bard  ! 






NOD  Awen  a'i  dihewyd 

Yw'r  Bardd  a  ganodd  i'r  byd. 

Pwy  rydd  gwymp  i'w  hardd  gampwaith  ? 

Farweiddia  nwyf  arddun  iaith  ? 

Safon  lien  a'i  hawen  hi, — 

Uchter  cynrych  Tair  Canri'. 

Y  gerdd  ddygir  i'w  ddygwyl, — 
I  ddod  yn  hardd,  daw  yn  wyl. 
Os  cawn  wen  i  ysgawnhau 
Llys  hirnos  mewn  llusemau  ; 
Tra'r  huan  eirian  erys, 
Pa  swyn  i  lamp  sy'n  ei  lys  ? 
Yn  nen  gwyl  y  Bardd  arddun, 
Wele,  mae'r  Haul  mawr  ei  hun ! 

Pencreawdr  pynciau'r  awen 

Ddramodol  fyw,  llyw  ei  Hen. 

Y  ciliau  biau  bywyd, 

I'w  lygad  gwawl  godai  i  gyd. 

Rhagoriaeth  Gwir,  a  gwarth  Gau, 

Rod  i  odd  trwy'i  Gymeriadau  ; 

Y  drych  ar  bob  anian  drodd, 

A'r  iawn  fathair  ni  fethodd  : 

Saif  eu  cwrs  i  fywiocau 

Sel  orysol  yr  oesau. 

Galwodd  Ffug  o  leoedd  ffawd 

I  gyhoeddus  gyhuddwawd  ; 

Brenhinoedd  a  rhengoedd  rhwysg 

Ddaw'n  ebrwydd  a'u  hoen  abrwysg  ; 

*The  Muse  acclaims  the 
Bard  who  sang  for  all 

Who  shall  raze  his  noble 
fabric  or  dull  his  words — 
the  glory  of  three  cen 
turies  ? 

With  modest  mien  this 
solemn  year, 

Let  song  exalt  the  poet- 

No  glimmeringlamps  cheer 
the  gloom  of  Night's  dark 

to  gild  the  bard's  undying 
day  the  Sun  himself  will 
shine  forth. 

The  drama's  arch -creator, 
crowned,  he  sways  the 
magic  deeps;  he  knows 
the  soul's  dark  cells ; 

Virtue  and  Truth,  Shame 
and  Wrong,  in  his  pageants 
stalk  before  us ; 

from  Nature  he  drew  his 
word-pictures : 

his  motley  throng  move  us 
to  laughter  and  tears. 

Falsehood  he  summons  to 
the  bar  of  scorn; 

he  sets  forth  Kings, 

1  The  marginal  paraphrase  is  based  on  a  metrical  rendering  in  English  by  R.  A.  Griffith 
(Elphin),  Esq.,  Merthyr  Tydvil,  Glam. 


Mwstr  brwydrau,  banllefau  lion 
Camp  cewri  rhag  cwymp  coron; 
Daw'r  Bradwr  i  wib-redeg — 
Filain  y  diafl,  a'i  wen  deg  ; 
Try  Eiddig  yn  ffyrnig  ffest, 
O  ymgernial  mae  gornest : 
Rhoi  hyder  eu  heriadau 
Ar  fin  y  dur  fynnai  dau  ; 
Arglwyddes,  oedd  ddiafles  ddig, — 
Dyma'i  nodau  damniedig  ! 
A  brud  cosb  cai'i  bradog  hun 
Ddiosg  camwedd  ysgymun  ; 
Ni  cheir  a'i  rin  ddewin  ddaw 
A  gudd  halog  ddeheulaw. 
Gwrendy  dewr  dan  gryndod  don 
Gwys  sobredig  ysbrydion  ; 
Daw  llais  barnol  bythol  bau 
O  lithoedd  drychiolaethau. 


Ysbryd  dwys  i'w  briod  iau 
A  rwym  synnwyr  Ymsonau  : 
Try'n  dyst  yr  enaid  distaw 
Fod  i  ddyn  ei  '  fyd  a  ddaw '. 
Ymdyrr  ar  fy  myfyr  mwy 
Lif  eneidiol, — ofnadwy  ! 
Tr  diwaelod  rhaid  dilyn 
Meddyliau  dyfnderau  dyn  : 
Ond  os  iddynt  y  suddaf, 
Suddo'n  nes  i  Dduw  a  wnaf ; 
A  ffoi  i  ddydd  y  ffydd  ddi-wall 
Wyr  fod  erof  fyd  arall. 

Ni  ddaw  diwedd  dihewyd 
I'r  Bardd  a  ganodd  i'r  byd. 


rivals,  fighting-  bloody 
jowls ; 

the  Lady,  nightly  raving 
in  accents  wild ; 

her  guilty  sleep  by  terror 
racked ; 

the  warrior  cowering  with 
blenched  cheek ; 

the    phantoms    muttering 
from  the  gloom. 

He  links  the  spirit  to  the 
word  of  fate,  and  brings 
witness  of  a  world  to  come. 

Depths    unplumbed   must 

still  be  sounded, 
where  man's  long-hidden 

thoughts  are  hid. 

To  every  heart  shall  aye 

be  bound 
the  Bard  who  sang  for  all ! 


J.  O.  WILLIAMS  (Pedrog). 


IT  is  a  subject  for  comment  that  Shakespeare,  with  all  his  shrewd  tact 
for  what  constituted  a  good  tale,  never  apparently  felt  drawn  to  the  legend 
of  Arthur.  At  all  events,  no  one  of  his  plays  is  based  on  that  theme  : 
and  this  becomes  only  the  more  strange  when  all  things  are  considered. 
It  was  not  that  he  ignored  the  national  heroes  :  the  existence  of  his 
Histories  confutes  that  particular  charge.  Neither  did  he  regard  Celtic 
legend  as  unsuitable  for  the  stage  ;  for  he  himself  was  master  of  *  the 
fairy  way  of  writing ',  and  moreover,  he  staged  both  Lear  and  Cym- 
beline  with  striking  effect.  Nor  again,  could  it  have  been  that  the  *  noble 
and  joyous  history '  was  ground  unfamiliar  to  his  rough  audiences  at 
the  Globe.  It  was,  on  the  contrary,  one  of  those  popular  stories  to 
which  the  dramatist  was  wont  to  turn  for  the  raw  material  of  his  plays  : 
and  that  it  was  not  lacking  in  dramatic  possibilities  had  already  been 
shown  by  the  success  of  the  academic  drama,  The  Misfortunes  of  Arthur 
(1587).  Nevertheless,  the  fact  remains  that  Britain's  one  great  contri 
bution  to  the  great  world-stories  was,  for  all  practical  purposes,  neglected 
by  Shakespeare,  and  the  world  is  the  poorer  by  at  least  one  great  drama. 

It  would,  however,  be  wrong  to  say  that  Shakespeare  entirely 
ignores  the  Arthurian  story :  in  his  works  are  occasional  references, 
of  interest  in  themselves,  but  most  interesting  for  the  light  they  throw 
upon  Shakespeare's  attitude  to  that  theme.  The  allusions  are  all  of 
a  humorous  kind  :  they  are  uttered  by  Falstaff,  Lear's  Fool,  Justice 
Shallow,  and  the  like,  and,  taken  together,  they  represent  a  coarse  bur 
lesque  of  the  old-world  narrative.  It  is  significant,  to  begin  with,  that 
Arthur  and  the  Christian  heroes  are  missing  from  the  account  of  the 
Nine  Worthies  which  occurs  in  Act  V  of  Love's  Labour  '$  Lost  (i.  123-4): 
their  places  there  are  taken  by  Hercules  and  Pompey,  as  if  the  great 
mediaeval  figures  had  ceased  to  be  of  heroic  rank.  And  such,  indeed, 
is  the  suggestion  of  the  references  themselves,  which  all  allude  to  the 
legend  in  light  and  ironical  vein.  Thus  Falstaff  enters  the  Boar's  Head 
roaring  a  ballad  of  Arthur  (2  Henry  IVt  n.  iv.  32).  It  is  Mistress 

J.  W.  H.  ATKINS  289 

Quickly's  belief  that  Falstaff  in  the  end  finds  refuge  in  *  Arthur's 
bosom  '  (Henry  V,  n.  iii.  10).  Boyet,  in  brisk  word-play,  refers  lightly 
to  *  Queen  Guinever  '  when  *  a  little  wench  '  (Love's  Labour  's  Lost  iv. 
i.  125).  Justice  Shallow  recalls  the  time  when  he  played  *  Sir  Dagonet 
in  Arthur's  show  '  (2  Henry  IV,  ill.  ii.  285).  Hotspur  alludes  impa 
tiently  to  Glendower's  conversation,  to  his  ceaseless  chatter  regarding 
'  the  dreamer  Merlin  and  his  prophecies  '  (/  Henry  IV,  in.  i.  150). 
Elsewhere  a  parody  of  those  prophecies  is  supplied  by  the  doggerel  of 
Lear's  Fool  (King  Lear  in.  ii.  80  ff.),  while  Kent  alludes  with  scorn  to 
Arthur's  home  at  Camelot  (King  Lear  n.  ii.  85). 

Now  the  tone  of  these  allusions  is  sufficiently  plain  :  it  suggests 
a  theme  that  has  been  robbed  of  its  freshness  and  glamour,  a  theme 
vulgarized  and  degraded  through  some  mysterious  cause.  Of  the 
romance  of  *  the  gray  king  '  no  mention  is  made  ;  no  hint  is  given  of 
the  high  tragedy  of  Guinevere,  or  of  the  chivalry  and  prowess  of  *  Lance 
lot  or  Pelleas  or  Pellenore  '.  Guinevere,  instead,  has  become  a  flaunting 
quean,  Merlin  a  tedious  driveller  :  the  foolish  Sir  Dagonet  alone  of 
Arthur's  knights  is  recalled,  while  their  exploits  are  likened  to  the 
driving  of  geese  to  Camelot. 

How  then  is  one  to  account  for  this  travesty  of  a  splendid  theme : 
on  the  part,  too,  of  a  poet  who  held  within  his  gaze  all  that  was  beautiful 
and  heroic  in  human  life  ?  Is  it  the  same  elusive  problem  as  is  found 
in  his  treatment  of  Troilus  ?  It  is  not  inconceivable  that,  where  Arthur 
was  concerned,  some  amount  of  depreciation  was  due  to  the  Renaissance 
scorn  for  things  mediaeval.  Ascham  had  condemned  the  legend  in 
downright  terms  :  by  him  the  deeds  of  the  Round  Table  were  summed 
up  as  *  open  manslaughter  and  bold  bawdry e  '  ;  and  Rabelais  also  had 
heaped  ridicule  on  the  old  romance.  But  of  greater  significance  still 
was  that  degraded  medium  through  which  Arthur's  story  was  wont  to 
reach  the  popular  ear,  and  this  factor  indeed  can  be  described  as  the 
decisive  one.  The  legend  had  become  the  theme  of  a  fallen  race  of 
minstrels,  *  singers  upon  benches  and  barrel-heads — that  gave  a  fit 
of  mirth  for  a  groat — in  taverns  and  ale-houses  and  such  other  places 
of  base  resort '.  And  the  fumes  of  the  ale-house  still  clung  to  the  story, 
tarnishing  its  brightness  and  despoiling  it  of  its  dignity  and  tragedy 
alike.  Outside  popular  circles  the  earlier  vision  remained.  Sidney  has 
a  good  word  for  '  honest  King  Arthur ',  while  Spenser  presents  him  to 
the  gentle  reader  as  a  prince  of  all  the  virtues.  But  Shakespeare  wrote 
first  and  last  for  a  popular  stage  and  for  a  popular  audience  ;  and  in  the 
matter  of  Arthur  he  has  necessarily  to  take  their  views  into  account » 


The  theme  once  touched  by  popular  ridicule,  it  became,  for  a  popular 
audience,  devoid  of  the  heroic,  and  therefore  incapable  of  dignified 

And  this  would  seem  to  explain  Shakespeare's  attitude  towards 
Arthurian  romance,  though  it  fails  to  meet  the  case  of  the  Troilus  bur 
lesque.  It  was  not  that  Shakespeare  regarded  the  legend  of  Arthur  as 
unsuitable  for  drama  on  account  of  *  the  remoteness  of  its  spirit  from 
the  world  of  living  men '.  Such  a  theory  has  been  urged  and  might 
indeed  hold,  had  the  dramatist  merely  refrained  from  using  the  material 
for  the  plots  of  one  or  more  of  his  serious  plays.  But  his  attitude  is 
obviously  of  a  more  positive  kind  :  it  is  one  of  plain  ridicule  towards  a 
vulgarized  story ;  and  this  attitude  as  a  popular  dramatist  he  was  bound 
to  take. 

J.  W.  H.  ATKINS. 


J.  E.  SANDYS  291 


-ft)  7rapa>   Travpa  Aariva, 
7ravpoT€p     JLhXrjvwv  ypajutt/AaTa,   TTCUS 

TTOTL  TrarpiSo? 
T    £0\a  pfyivT 
evravOol  8'   atyoppos  Icov9   icaka  vroAAa  7rovrj<Tas 
evpes  repju,a  jQlov  KOI   ieX.€Os  aOavarov. 

HERE,  as  a  boy,  beside  his  native  stream, 
He  once  did  learn  '  small  Latin  and  less  Greek 
Hence,  as  a  man,  he  the  great  City  sought, 
To  win  the  noblest  prizes  of  the  Stage  ; 
Hither,  with  all  his  work  well  done,  he  came, 
To  find  the  end  of  life,  and  deathless  fame. 

J.  E.  SANDYS. 





T\avK(ov.      X0e?  Trepl   Seikrjv  o^fiav  TroAf?  kv 
Aoyo?  ft>?  eis  TOP  Heipcua  apn  KaraTreTrkevKvla  GLTJ  vavs  ' 
ray  T€  /J,€ye0€(,  VTrepftahXovcra  Kal  rjj  a^Xy  irapao-Kevy 
KOL    evBvf   air     a<TT€O)s    Kareppeov  aOpooi   el?   TIeipaia 

TtoV  T€  TTOklTWV  KOi  TCOV  £eV(i)V  KOi  TtoV  fJLCTOLKtoV  TO  7rk<HOV  tyo/ 

ical   8rj  Kal  avros    eyco   (TvwrjKoX.ovdovV   Kai  yap   ev  /AGV  TCO 

POV(P  0*A.oy<yAo?  rt,$  eyco  Aeyo/^a/  re  Kal 

vvv  ore  TroAe/z-oi/  eKelvou  ajravrtov  €(f>    ocrov  TJ  T£>V  av6pw7ra)v 
€<f>LKV€iTat,   fjueyicrrov    7ro\eju,ov(ri,v.      Kai    avrrj  /jJev    rj   vavs 
ov8ajJLO>s  ra?  ekTrlSas  etyev  (re,  a\Xa  Kal,  TO  TOV  QovKvSlSov,  a/a??;? 


eycoye  TWIT  vavr&v  KOL  T&V  ejnfiaTtov  Tyv  re  TOV  o~d)/J,aTOs  €ve!~iav 
teal  TO  TOV  7rpoo~a)7rov  apepi/Avov  KOL  &>?  atojOws  ISpeTavwKOV,  TO 
Trpivivov,  <j)ao-iv,  TTJ?  KapSlas  Kal  TO  /zeAAo^^/ctaji/  e»?  evapyeo~TaTa 
€/j,<paivov.  aAA*  OVTTO)  eveTrKjjaO'rjv  Oetofievos  KOL  elBov  awo  TOV 
TrKoiov  a/rroftaivovTa  TOV  Tavpiorjvy  avSpa  AyyXov,  %evov  fjfev  ovra 

€K  7ra\acov9  vvv  8e  8t,a  TroXXov  %povov  eis  ra?  KOrjv 
rjGTra^ofjueBa  re  aAA^Aof?  &>?  <f>iX.i,KQ)TaTa  Kal  cya),  <c  apa  a 
G<TTIV   ,  €<f)7ji>9  (  c  a  Trpo?  fjfJbas  V7TO  Tcov  Yep/juavtov  o~vve%a)S  ayyek- 
\€Tat   a>?   apa    ol    Kyy\.oi    aTraz/re?    yeyovao-i  Tore   fJbev 
crK07rot9  el?  TOP  ovpavov  ava/S\.G7rovT€<;  ael  Kai  Trvvdavo/juevoi  a 

7TOTC    KOL    TToOeV    TO    $€(,VOV    rj%€i,    O)O~T6   Trap     V/MV    OVKGTi    OV&    aVTO? 

o    ^(OKpaTTjs,    ov   TTOTG    a>?    ao~TpovofjiovvTa    6   *  Kpio~TO<f>dvr]<;    OLTTC- 

A.  W.  MAIR 



GLAUKON,  of  Athens. 
TAURIDES,  an  Englishman. 

Glaukon.  THERE  was  current  in  the  city  yesterday  afternoon  a 
strong  rumour  that  an  English  ship  had  just  come  into  the  Peiraeus, 
of  exceptional  size  and  remarkable  in  her  general  equipment.  Imme 
diately  there  was  a  rush  from  the  town  ;  citizen,  alien,  naturalized 
alien,  all  poured  down  to  see  the  vessel,  and  I  myself  went  with  them. 
For  indeed,  I  have  always  been,  as  I  am  said  to  be,  a  friend  of  England, 
but  more  than  ever  now  when  England  is  engaged  in  the  greatest  of 
all  wars  within  human  memory.  The  ship  herself  did  not  disappoint 
expectations.  In  the  phrase  of  Thucydides,  *  trial  outdid  report/ 
But  what  was  more  admirable  to  me  than  the  ship  was  the  physical 
fitness  of  sailor  and  marine  alike  :  the  truly  British  sans  souci  showing 
in  their  faces,  a  vivid  expression  of  the  *  hearts  of  oak ' — of  the  '  Britons 
never,  never  shall  be  slaves  '. 

I  had  not  satisfied  my  eyes  when  I  saw  coming  off  the  ship  Mr.  Bull, 
an  Englishman,  with  whom  I  had  an  old  friendship,  and  who  was  now 
visiting  Athens  after  a  long  interval.  After  we  had  greeted  each  other 
very  cordially,  I  asked  him  whether  the  German  stories  which  con 
tinually  reach  us  were  true.  *  Is  it  true',  I  asked,  *  that  now  Englishmen 
are  all  become  star-gazers — always  looking  to  the  heavens  and  asking 
one  another  when  and  from  what  quarter  the  fearful  thing  will  come  : 

Socrates  himself,  whose  star-gazing  was  ridiculed  by  Aristophanes, 



ov8ajj,ov  av  tfralvoiTO,   Tore  8'  av   epe/3o$t<l>u)art,vy   rpcoyko- 
TTJV  yrjv  bpvTTOvres  Kal  ev  airoQ^icai^  Trviyrjpals  olKOvvres 
,  covTrep  Tcpo  UpojjwjOecos  TO  avOpwTrelov  yevos,  Kal  <rrra- 
Kal  fjuofos  avaKV7rTOVTe$y  &?  <f>r)o~iv  6  IIAaTCDZ/,  elf  TOP  cvQaSe 
y  are  Trpos  TOVS  TOV  Ka/cra/oo?  Kepavvovs  KdTaiftaTas  TravTa- 

aAA*    <c  ovtc    eerr*    ervyLto?    Xoyos    OVTOS  ",    £ 
TCO  yap  OVTI  el  ejjt,oi  e^eA.ofc?  rw  avTOTTTrj  re  KCU  ef  avTov 
TOV  epyov  evffvs  VIKOVTI  7n,o~Teveiv  fJuahXov  77  o?9  rt^e?,  o?? 

TI  8ia<t>ep€i  ,  Trap  vfjulv  iravv  o"7rov8fj  $t,ayy€\Xovo~LV,  ol  *A.yy\OL  TO, 
vvv  cr%€8ov  ovfiev  SiaipepovTcos  SiaiTcovrai,  rj  ev  TCO  aAAw  aTravTi 
Xpovtoy  aAA'  Iva  KCLT  '  Apt,o~TO<f>awj  Xeya), 

01  8*  ev/coXot  jJ.€V  rjcrav,   eu/coXot  8e  vvv. 

Ta  jjfev  yap  aAAa  eacras  ev  TI  troi  TOV  Tpojrov  avT&v  TeKfA'fjpiov  epai* 
avayopevos  Sevpo  KaTeKeiTcov  avTOVs  eopTrjv  ayovTas  elf  TI/ATJV  TOV 


TTOLOV      y^e<r7raot>  ;  JJLWV  TOV  TroirjTOv; 

TOV  TroirjTov. 

eopTTjv  TroirjTov  Kal  TavTa  TrokejAOV  TOCTOVTOV  TroAe- 

aAA'  OVK  aicrjKoas  &>?  TraKat,  TTOTC  TOV  TvpTalov  TOV 
eTrrjyayovTO    ol    AaKeSai/uovioi,    ore    TOIS    Meacr 
v  y  OTTW?  TCOV  eiceivov  eKeyeiw  aKpow/JuevoL  ol  TroXiTai 
aperrjv  7rapol;vvot,VTOi   TavTov  ovv  8ij  TOVTO  8oKOVo~t,v  e/zot  ol   AyyX.ot, 
Trpo?  TOV  'Ey^ea-TraAov  TreTrovBevat,,  avSpa  ayaBov  Trepl  Trjv  TTOJUV 
Kac  evepyeTrjv  yeyevrjo'Oai,  avTov  rjyov^evoty  OO~TI,$  aAAa  re  TroAAa 
AcaAw?    TTJV    rjpeTepav   7roX.LV    teal    evovdeTrjo'e    /col    vTrefJuvrjo-ev 
erryveo'ev  xai  8rj  Kal  Ta  TcoXvdpvk'rjTa  eKelva  els  avTTjv  e 
cov  TJ  ^p'h  ToidSe 

•^8*  V)  cre/Jcwrn)  yata,  ^8afnXc<uv  Opovos, 

,  Xwpog 

ov  avros  aural         ' 

vocrou  Tr/adySXry/Lta,  TroXe/xuis  a\Kap 

A.  W.  MAIR  295 

would  be  unremarked  among  you :  or  again  they  "  dive  into  the  deeps  " ; 
like  troglodytes  they  dig  up  the  earth  and  live  in  stuffy  "  cabins  under 
earth  " — like  the  human  race  before  Prometheus — rarely  and  hardly 
lifting  up  their  heads  to  "  this  upper  world  "  as  Plato  says  ;  utterly  terri 
fied  by  the  "  downrushing  thunderbolts  "  of  the  Kaiser  ? ' 

Taurides.  '  That  tale  's  not  true  ',  friend  Glaukon.  In  fact,  if 
you  would  believe  me  who  have  seen  with  my  own  eyes  and  have  come 
directly  from  the  scene  of  action—rather  than  those,  probably  not  quite 
disinterested,  gentlemen,  who  studiously  spread  reports  among  you — 
Englishmen  have  hardly  at  all  altered  their  way  of  life  :  they  live 
practically  as  they  have  always  lived :  as  Aristophanes  says  of  Sophocles  : 

Easy  before  and  not  less  easy  now. 

To  mention  a  single  sign  of  this — when  I  left  England  for  Athens  they 
were  holding  a  festival  in  honour  of  Shakespeare. 

Glaukon.    Shakespeare  ?  the  poet  ? 

Taurides.    The  same. 

Glaukon.  A  festival  in  honour  of  a  poet,  when  they  are  engaged 
in  such  a  tremendous  war  !  What  queer  folks  those  English  be  ! 

Taurides.  Nay,  have  you  not  heard  that  long  ago,  when  the 
Lacedaemonians  were  engaged  in  a  war  with  the  Messenians,  they 
invited  to  Sparta  the  elegiac  poet  Tyrtaeus,  in  order  that  his  elegiacs 
might  stir  up  the  valour  of  their  citizens.  Similar  is  the  attitude  of 
Englishmen  to  Shakespeare.  They  look  on  him  as  a  man  who  has 
'  deserved  well '  of  the  state,  as  a  *  benefactor  ',  inasmuch  as  he  wisely 
and  well  in  many  a  line  admonished  our  country  and  reminded  her 
and  praised  her,  and  in  particular  wrote  the  famous  lines  commencing  : 

This  royal  throne  of  kings,  this  sceptered  isle, 
This  earth  of  majesty,  this  seat  of  Mars, 
This  other  Eden,  demi-paradise, 
This  fortress  built  by  Nature  for  herself 
Against  infection  and  the  hand  of  war, 

U  2 


jj.OLKa.ipa  yea,  jcooyxia 
778*  a»s  oyiapaySo?  apyupav  Itpvar*  a\a' 
^i>  d/A</>t/3a\\ei  7TOVT05  curt  Tet^tov, 
rd(f>pov  oVo/AdVais  aV,   atcnrep  oi/a'a?, 


\          '        ^    s  "S>  »A      \' 

TO  KTjiri.ov  TO  Oat/xo^tov,  170     AyyAia. 

01)  SiKaicos  TOP  TOiavra  rrjv  'KyyXLav  €7raive<ravTa  en  Kal 

ev  fAvypr)  Kal  rifty  €%OfJ,ev  aAAw?  re  /cai  i;7re/)  avTij?  vvv  Seov 

TToAeyu./oi'S'  T&v  TravTwv  tofAorarovs  afJivvecrOat,  ; 

r\.avKO>v.      Si/caicos  Kal  cr(f>o8pa  ye. 

TavptSr}?.  ere  8e  Kal  roSe  fjuoi  BOKO)  evvevoijKevai  on  ovO* 
al  Mo5(ra6  €vrv^ovo~iv  OTTOV  fjurj  rj  'EAef^e/3/a,  ovO*  rj  'HLkevOepia 
OTTOV  fj/r)  al  Movo-ai.  ov8e  yap  ev  avrfj  rjj  'EAAa^,  rrj  avrfov 

OVKCTI   GfJLewav,    eTrecrj   VTTO   rcav 

(ical  yLtofc  fj/rj  a%0€o~0rj$  coo-jrep   ^pvm^co   erepco   ra   otKrjid   o~e 

aAA'  et?  rrjv  '''  '  \ra\iav  fJLerwK'rjo'av'  CTrecSrj  &  av  ol  *Pft)- 
eis  TO  Tpvfyepov  Kat  KeK\ao~/Juevov  KOI  aftpoftiaiTOv  cu 
OVTOVS  evOvs  al  Movtrat,  w?  8vo~%€patvovo~ai,  a 
aval-iocs  biuKeiVy  Kal  efavyov  OVK  o?8'  OTTOI  el  p/rj  el$  TTJV  rj 
ef  ov  Kal  rjfAels  TWV  a\\cov  TroXewz^  aTrao-tov  Kal  eis  TO,  aAAa  ?r/ooe- 
o~Tavai  OVK  akoyw  al;iovfJLev'  OVTCOS  aKvjdes  ecrnv  o  (pijcri  TLS  T£*V 

1]JJ,€T€pCt)V  TTOirjTCOV' 

8c  Motor*  tWog  Stw/cet 
Ao^    cTTCTat  Kal 

KaTa<f>vyovo~c0v  8'    ovv   Trap    y^as  TCOV  Movacov  7rpo<f>rjTrj^ 
eyevero    o   >Ey^e(T7raXos',    /-taAAoz>    3*    ?ar«e)?   lepo<f>avrr)v   8ei 
TCOV  fj,vo~TirjpUdv  TO>V  Movo~elct)v,  Kal  Trepl  jjuev  avTov 
y    o</>0akju,a>v  8*    ov%   OTTWS   eo-TeprfGev,    coo^rrep  TraKai 
Trap  'AA/ai>6>  A7)jj,o8oKov9  aXXa  TTO\.V  fjbahXov  elzcojuipiaTCoa'ei'  Kal 

ot  x/>vo~ea5 
Aet/xarouv  TC  Tnjyas 
/cat  b.a.KpV(ov  yoepuv  avol^ai. 

TJ  Trotos  TI$  o~ol  8oK€L  6  *  fLyxeo~7raKo$  TroirjTrjs  elvat,  ; 

aAA   of     a     ea>  Traw  TL  eo~o\aKO)^  Tvavd)  rot? 

vfjLGTepot,$  TroiTjTals,  ov  pa5/ft)9  ep^a)  aTTOKpivecrOai,,  ?roAA?;^  5*  az/ 

A.  W.  MAIR  297 

This  happy  breed  of  men,  this  little  world, 

This  precious  stone  set  in  the  silver  sea, 

Which  serves  it  in  the  office  of  a  wall, 

Or  as  a  moat  defensive  to  a  house, 

Against  the  envy  of  less  happier  lands, 

This  blessed  plot,  this  earth,  this  realm,  this  England. 

Are  we  not  right  in  remembering  and  honouring,  even  when  he  is  dead, 
a  poet  who  wrote  such  praise  of  England,  especially  when  we  now  have 
to  defend  her  against  the  cruellest  of  all  enemies  ? 

Glaukon.    Very  right,  indeed. 

Taurides.  Moreover,  I  seem  to  have  noticed  this,  that  Poetry 
does  not  flourish  without  Freedom,  nor  Freedom  without  Poetry. 
Hellas  was  the  motherland  of  the  Muses,  yet  even  in  Hellas  the  Muses 
did  not  remain  after  Hellas  was  enslaved  by  the  Romans  ;  now  do  not 
be  vexed  with  me  if,  like  a  second  Phrynichus,  I  '  remind  you  of  the 
woes  of  your  kin  ' :  they  migrated  to  Italy.  When  the  Romans,  in  their 
turn,  declined  on  luxury  and  enervation  and  effeminacy,  immediately 
the  Muses  forsook  them  and  fled  ;  fled,  I  know  not  whither,  unless 
it  were  to  our  England  ;  and  from  that  time  we  have  no  unreasonable 
claim  to  be  the  first  of  nations  in  other  things  as  well  as  in  poetry.  So 
true  are  the  words  of  Gray  : 

Her  track,  where'er  the  goddess  roves, 
Glory  pursues,  and  generous  Shame. 

In  any  case,  when  the  Muses  took  refuge  with  us,  Shakespeare 
became  their  spokesman,  or  rather,  perhaps,  I  should  call  him  the 
hierophant  of  the  mysteries  of  the  Muses.  The  Muse  *  loved  him  with 
an  exceeding  love  ',  but  so  far  from  robbing  him  of  his  eyes — as  she  did 
Demodikos  of  the  court  of  Alkinoos — she  actually  opened  his  eyes, 
and  gave  him  the  golden  keys  that 

can  unlock  the  gates  of  Joy ; 
Of  Horror  that,  and  thrilling  Fears, 
Or  ope  the  sacred  source  of  sympathetic  Tears. 

But  what  is  your  own  opinion  of  the  poetry  of  Shakespeare  ? 

Glaukon.    The  fact  is  I  have  not  much  studied  English  poetry, 


%api,v  el8elrjv  el  eOe\.oi,s  e/juol  fj,erai;v  jropevo^evcav  CKCLVOV  ra?  a/sera? 

Tavpt8rj9.      peya  8rj  epyov,  <3  </>/A.e,  \eyei$.      el  fjuev  yap  avev 
7rapa8eiyjJ,aTG)V  TLV£>V  a7r\.S>s  avTov  e7raLvoirjvy  ra%'  av  ov  TTMTTevoi,? 
l  keyovTLy    el   8'    av   wv   eicelvos   e7roirjo~eVy  okiy    arra   eKkeyav 

aOeifAtjVy   TOUT'   av  etrj  TO  Kara  TTJV  Trapoipiav  \eyofj,evovy  CLTTO 

rrjv  oltclav  eTraivelv'  <t>7)<riv  yap  TTOV  6  cIe/>o/cA^?  &> 
CTTIKOS  TIS  OLKiav  ^OfXo/z-e^o?  aTToSocrQat,,  Seiy/ua  avrrjs 
7repL€(f)€pe.  ravrov  8'  av  i&a)?  Kayw  TreTrovOas  eirjv  el  ev  OVTCD 
{3pa%€i  xpovco,  ev  co  elf  aarrv  Tropevojjueda,  rov  'Ey^e<77raAof  ra 
/caAA?;  eTTixeipoirjv  Sivjyeio-Qai,.  aA.A.'  e^  %pr]  ev  TJ  8vo  onto  fAvpiwv 
rcdv  ev8e^o/Jievci)v  Tra^fAa)?  Kal  TVTTCO  ev8eiKvvo'0a(,>  (r%e8ov  TI  OVK 
ol8'  OTTodev  8ei  apxe&Qat,,  a\Xa  TO)  OVTL  ajropco  ' 

rt  irpwrov  rot  eTrctra,  rt  8'  vcrraTiov 

ap%T}  8*  ovv  e(TTO)  rov  \oyov  rj  iraKaua  eKeivrj  airopia  Trorepov  rov  TTOITJ- 
TTJV  8el  TJ  Kal  rov  ypa(f>ea  fjapelcrOai,  @e\.Tiovas  TJ  Kad  '  ^a?  97  %eipovas 
rj  Kai  TOIOVTOVS,  axnrep  Kal  o  vjjwrepos  2o0o«-A^?,  el  fjbe/j,vrj(rai,9  e(f>rj 
avro?  fjJev  oiovs  8el  Troteiv,  J^vpt>7rl8fjv  8e  OLOL  elcriv.  6  fJbev  ovv 

ov  pa8la)$  av  eiTrois  TLVL  rcov  8oy^ara)v  TOVTCOV 
y  czAAa  TOT€  fj,ev  rco8e  (fraiTjs  av,   rore   8e  Tfo8e,  TO   8' 

o)$  efAot,  (fraiveTaiy  Trjs  TOiavTrjs  aKpiftoXoyias 
tcaTecfrpovet,.  co/mokoyet,  yap  SrjkovoTi,  T&>  'A^tcrTOTeXet  tt>?  ov 
ra  yevofjueva  \.eyew  TOV  TroirjTOv  epyov  eo-Tiv  a\K  ola  av  yevot,TO, 
ov8e  Ta  Kad*  eKao~TOv  Xeyav,  a)o-7rep  ol  lo-TOpiKot,  aXXa  TCL  Kadokov  , 
elf  eKe?vo  fjuovov  a7ro0\e7rovTa  TW  TTOCCO  Ta  nroT  arra 
\eyeiv  tj  TTpaTTeiv  Kara  TO  CIKOS  TJ  TO  avayKaiov.  \veTat,  8e 
TJV  Tt,ve$  eTTeTijuiTjo'av  avTto  OTL  evioTe  TepaTa)8ei,s 

a8vvaTOvs  yeveo~6ai  TreTrolrjKev  a)o-7rep  avTLKa  TOV 
el  /juev  ovv  TOV  TV%ovTa  av0pa)7rov  /Ai/juelcrOai  7rpoe\.o- 
eiTa  TOV  Kaktfiavov  TOIOVTOV,  olov  olo~6a)  e7roirjo-evy  evo^of 
av  rjv  TTJ  eTTLTLfJUTjaeC  vvv  8e  ev  el8a)s  eKelvos  Trpos  ye  TTJV  Trolrja'iv 
alpeTcoTepov  ov  TTiQavov  a8vvaTov  rj  anrlQavov  Kal  8vvaTOV,  Ta  ovra 
VTTepjSakwv  TOV?  T€paTO)8ei,$  eKeivov?  €LO~rjyayey  Trepl  TOVTO 

A.  W.  MAIR  299 

and  it  is  not  easy  for  me  to  give  an  answer.    I  should  be  very  grateful  if, 
while  we  walk,  you  would  explain  to  me  Shakespeare's  merits. 

Taurides.  That  is  a  big  task  !  If  I  were  to  praise  Shakespeare 
without  quoting  examples,  my  words  would  probably  fail  to  carry  con 
viction  :  if,  on  the  other  hand,  I  were  to  quote  a  few  extracts,  this  would 
be  a  case  of  the  proverbial  *  commending  a  house  with  a  brick '.  Hierocles 
tells  us  of  a  pedant  who,  wishing  to  sell  his  house,  carried  about  a  brick 
as  a  specimen  of  it.  I  should  be  in  like  case  if  I  attempted,  in  the  brief 
while  that  we  are  walking  to  the  city,  to  recount  the  beauties  of  Shake 
speare.  However,  if  I  must  mention  one  or  two  points  out  of  the  ten 
thousand  possible  topics,  I  really  do  not  know  where  to  begin,  and  I  am 
honestly  in  Homer's  difficulty  : 

What  shall  I  first,  what  shall  I  last  recount  ? 

Let  me  begin  with  the  old  problem.  Should  a  poet — or,  for  that 
matter,  should  a  painter — represent  men  better  than  ordinary  men  like 
ourselves,  or  worse  men,  or  men  just  such  as  we  are  ?  Your  own  Sopho 
cles,  if  you  recollect,  said  that  he  himself  represented  men  as  they  should 
be,  while  Euripides  represented  them  as  they  actually  are.  Now  one 
would  find  it  hard  to  say  which  of  these  doctrines  Shakespeare  sup 
ported.  Sometimes  you  would  be  inclined  to  say  the  one  opinion, 
sometimes  the  other.  But,  in  my  judgement,  the  real  truth  is  that 
Shakespeare  looked  with  little  favour  on  this  sort  of  quibbling.  Clearly 
he  agreed  with  Aristotle  in  holding  that  the  function  of  the  poet  is  not 
to  relate  what  has  happened,  but  what  may  happen — not  to  give  the 
particular,  like  the  historian,  but  the  universal :  looking  only  to  one 
consideration — how  a  certain  sort  of  person  will  speak  or  act  on  a  given 
occasion,  according  to  the  law  of  probability  or  necessity.  This  point 
of  view  resolves  the  criticism  of  Shakespeare  made  by  some  people, 
that  he  sometimes  introduces  monstrous  and  impossible  characters,  as, 
for  example,  Caliban.  Now  had  the  intention  of  Shakespeare  been  to 
represent  an  ordinary  man  when  he  portrayed  Caliban, — you  know 
the  character — then  he  would  have  been  open  to  criticism.  But  the 
actual  fact  is  that  Shakespeare  was  well  aware  that,  artistically ,  poetically ', 
a  plausible  impossibility  is  preferable  to  an  unplausible  possibility. 
He,  accordingly,  lightly  went  beyond  the  limits  of  the  actual  world 


rrjv   €7rtju,€\.€tav   7rotov/j,evo$   OTTO)?   avrol    eavTOts    b/j,ota   Kal 
Kal  7rpdt;ovo-tv  KCLL,  a>9  <rvve\.6vTt  etTretv,  rrjv  otKetav  Troti}- 
o'ova'tv  rjbovfjv.   Tavry  8e  o-KO7rov/j,evots  o  re  KaA./y9az/o?  /cat  at  3>ap- 
ju,aK€VTptat  ov8ev  fjua\\.ov  a£tot  8oKovo~tv  etvat  eTrtTtj&'rjo'ea)?  TJ  o  re 

Kal  o  'A/JtkeTtos  KOL  et  rives  aot  TOLOVTOL. 
l  ravra  jj,ev  Aeyeo  OVK  aTroKoyovpevo?  vjrep  rov  ' 
aAAa  clfijyovfJievos'  el  8e  8e?  KOL  anroKoyiav  eiTreiv,  Trpo^apov  ecrrtv 
TO  '  ApiVTOTekeiov  eicelvo  keyew,  on  "  aAA'  ovv  ovrco  <f>a(TLv"  .  KOL 
yap  €7rl  TOV  $Ey^6(T7raAou  Kal  e\.eyov  TroAAa  roiavra  KOL  eTTLcrrevov  , 
are  TroAAa  rrjs  yrjs  f^eprf  OVTTCO  iicavcos  eiSores,  ev  ol$  paSia)?  Travro- 
Sajra  eju,v0o\oyovv  evoucelv  repara'  avros  yovv  6  'Ey^eorraAo? 
<j>avepov  earn/  on  TreTre^a/te^o?  tjv  TW  ovrt,  elvat  rtvas  avOpamovs 
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a7ro8oKtjj,a£et9  ev  av  e%ot  pe/Avrjcrdat,  ort  KCUT  avrous  rovs 
€K€tvov9  ov%  OTTO)?  7]7TL(TTovv  fJLTj  yevecrdaL  TOtavras  rivds,  aAAa  Kal 
ewto-Tevov  Kal  efoftovvTo  Kal  /3a<rdvots  re  rats  Setvordrats  f)Xey%ov 
et  rtva  vTTtoTTTevov  <j>apfjbaKOLs  Kal  jtayyavetats  xpfj&Oat, 
%0el(rav  re  rats  ecrxarats  rt/JLWptats  eKoKa^ov. 

ev  8'  ovv  aTraa'tv  biotas  TO  b/u,otov  eKaarco  eStwKev  b  ' 
TraAo?  Kal  Trepl  TOVTO  fjuovov  €o~7rov8a£ev,  eTrel  OVT  dp%atokoytKos 
etvat  Trpoa-eTTOtetro  ovre  yec0ypa<f>tK09  ovre  T£*V  rotovrcov  ov8ev9  aAA* 
7rot,r}T7js.  are  ovv  7re7reto~jj,evos  aXXwv  aXXo  re^vwv  epyov 
otov  rrjs  /mev  eTTto-Trjj&rjv  ,  rrjs  Se  7ret,6a)y  KOI  rcov 

avros   Te%vrjv    TTJV 

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(oo~7rep  TTOV  Kal  avTos  (f>rjo~tv  TOV  Xetju,a>vos  ev  rw  €7rt\6yco' 

SOT'  ovpiav  c/xotcrti/  I(rrtot9 
rj  Kapr    av  aTrons)(pifjC  av  ov 

aKijKoevat  pev  ovv  jtot  8oKO)  OTL  7rd\at  Trore,  eTrel  7rpeo~j3et$ 
Ttves  VTTO  TO>V  'Pco/Aatcov  ajreo-Ta^evot  eis  TOV  TapavTa  7jKov9 
avTOV?  ol  Tapavnvot  et  Tt  /j/rj  /caAw?  ehXTjvto-etav  ,  Trj$ 
mtKpokoytas  ov8ev  OVTC  TW  'Ey^eo-TraAw  e/^e\ev  OVTC 
aAX&>  /j,e\et  09  ye  TOV  '  Apto~TOTe\.7j  TreTraTTjKtos  Tvy%avet'  ev  yap 

A.  W.  MAIR  301 

and  introduced  those  monstrous  creations,  his  sole  care  being  that  in 
speech,  as  in  action,  they  should  be  consistent  with  themselves — in  a 
word,  produce  their  appropriate  pleasure.  So  considered,  Caliban  and 
the  Witches  are  no  more  deserving  of  censure  than  Othello  or  Hamlet 
or  the  like. 

These  remarks  are  meant  to  be  an  exposition,  not  a  defence  of 
Shakespeare.  If  defence  is  needed,  we  have  at  hand  the  Aristotelian 
defence  :  *  but  so  they  say  '.  For  in  the  time  of  Shakespeare  such 
things  were  not  only  said  but  believed.  Having  an  inadequate  acquain 
tance  with  many  portions  of  the  globe,  they  easily  imagined  these  to  be 
the  home  of  all  sorts  of  monsters.  Shakespeare,  indeed,  himself  actually 
believed  in  the  existence  of  a  race  of  men  *  whose  heads  do  grow  beneath 
their  shoulders '.  As  to  the  Witches,  if  any  one  objects  to  them,  he 
would  do  well  to  remember  that  just  about  Shakespeare's  time,  so  far 
from  the  existence  of  witches  being  doubted,  they  were  a  subject  of 
terror,  and  any  woman  suspected  of  employing  magic  simples  or  other 
means  of  witchcraft  was  examined  with  horrible  tortures  and,  if  con 
victed,  punished  with  the  utmost  severity. 

But,  in  any  case,  Shakespeare's  aim  always — and  his  sole  aim — was 
consistency.  He  did  not  pretend  to  be  an  archaeologist  or  a  geographer, 
or  anything  of  that  sort,  but  simply  a  poet.  He  was  convinced  that 
different  arts  have  different  ends.  The  end  of  one  art  is  knowledge, 
the  end  of  another  is  persuasion  :  and  so  for  every  art  a  particular  end. 
His  own  particular  art  being  poetry,  he  aimed  always  at  producing  the 
pleasure  which  is  appropriate  to  poetry.  Indeed,  he  says  himself  in  the 
epilogue  of  The  Tempest : 

Gentle  breath  of  yours  my  sails 
Must  fill,  or  else  my  project  fails, 
Which  was  to  please. 

I  seem  to  recollect  a  story  of  an  embassy  which  the  Romans  sent  to 
Tarentum,  and  how  the  Tarentines  jeered  when  the  ambassadors  made 
a  slip  in  their  Greek.  Now  this  sort  of  meticulous  pedantry  had  small 


TOiovrois  et  TI  TreTr^fJbfMe^Tai^  Kara  TJ]V  TTpoaipeviv  eo~TL   TO 

djj,dpT7)jj,a  aAA'  ov  Kara  TIJV 

i   OV%  rjKKTTO,   8i*    aVTO   TOVTO  ,    OTl  TTCpl   TO,  /JUtJ    7TpOO~7)KOVTa    OV 

^eTaLy  ov  JAOVOV  rot?  ev  a(f>a)pio~/^€vco  TLVL  TJ  TOTTCO  77  xpovto 

OlOS  T    eO~TiV   CKCCVOS  7)8oV7)V  TTape^LP   ttAAa   Kai   TOfc?  TToAf   KOI 

ocra  yap  tj  TOTTOV  TWOS  rj  %povov  rj 
TavTa  okiois  GvveTa    {  c  e?  8e  TO  Trap 

,"  .  o  ^e  TOVS  avSpas  Kai  ra?  yvvalKas  TreTroLrjKev  VTTO  TO>V 
avTcov,  wvTrcp  Kai  rj/^eiS)  TraO&v  re  Kai  €7rt,dvfjLiwv  /care^oyLteVov?, 
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TTOV  Tiva  iMfAovvraLy  o  8e  'Ey^eerTraAo?  TOP  KaOoKov  av6pa)7rov. 

YKavKtov.      ov   <j>avKov,   CD  <f>l\e,   Aeyet?    irovqmiv'      aXXa   TOV 
\oyov  Trepaive. 

Tavpldrjs.      aAAa  yap,  co  <f)l\.e  YkavK&v,  TOV  eiraivov,  el  /z-eAAet 
TOV  eTraivov/juevov  €o~eo'0ac9  tfov8e7ra)  KprjTrl?  v7reo"Tt,v"  ,  aAA 

>  ^'       *  >       O   /     >        ¥ 

ovo    av  et  OCK 

ov%  olos  T   av  eirjv  CKCIVOV  T&V  apeT&v  TroAAocrroz/  pepos 

,,  6V  ye  VTrepftefikrjTai,  TOVS  re  TT/OO  avTOv  TroirjTas  Kai  TOV? 
eavTOv  Kai  ovde  TO??  eTriyiyvo/JuevoLS  VTrepfioXTjv 

TTS     €€u>s  7Tp>TOV  eTTaweaofjuat,  Trjv  evapyaav  Kai   TTJV 

Kai  T'rjv  Trepiov  viav,  Kadapas  re  Tols  ovofiao-w  OV&TJS  Kai 
TOV  *  Kyy\iKov  %apaKTr)pa  TravTa^y  8iao~a)£ovo'7]$  ;  rj  Trjs  diavolas  TO 
fj,€yaXo<f>ves  Kai  TO  dSpeTTTjjSokov  Kai  TO  dy^co~TpO(f>ov  Kai  TO  w?  akrj- 
6a><;  fjuvpiovovv;  TTOTepov  ra  yekoia  ScrjyTjo'OfAai,  OTTCOS  /^era^e^o/fera^ 
7rapa£va)v  fjuev  CVLOTG  TO  0a)/^o^6^ov9  <f)V\aTTO)v  8*  del  TO  O/JLOLOV  ;  rj  ev 
Tat$  TOTrrjyopiais  owoo-a  <f>t,\oo~o(f)e'i>  OTrocras  yvco/uas  eiprjKev,  £>v  al 
els  irapoifjuias  fj^rj  elalv  afayfjuevat,  Kai  T£*V  Ayykcov  eKa 

T  CTTL  TTJ  ^XV  e^(TLV  $la  TTUVTOS  Kai 
Trepc  Tto  Tpaxrjty  ;  rj  TTJV  ev  Tols  TraOrjTiKols  SewoTrjTa,  eav  T 
opyrjv  dey  e^aLveiv^  eav  T  eKeov,  eav  re  TrevOos;  TJ  ocra  TCOV 
8pafjt,aTCOV  7ravTa%ov  jjt,e\7)  e/JufteftK'rjKev,  aScov,  TO  TOV 

Xtyvpws  old  Tts  opvis 

A.  W.  MAIR  303 

concern  for  Shakespeare,  or,  indeed,  for  any  one  who  has  *  thumbed  ' 
his  Aristotle.  Error  in  such  matters  is  of  intention,  not  of  art. 

And  just  this  fact — just  the  fact  that  Shakespeare  does  not  bestow 
pedantic  pains  on  the  non-essential — is  one  of  the  main  reasons  why  the 
pleasure  he  affords  is  not  confined  to  the  inhabitants  of  a  particular 
place  or  to  a  particular  generation,  but  is  enjoyed  equally  by  those  far 
removed  in  many  ways.  Whatever  is  special  to  a  particular  time,  a 
particular  locality,  a  particular  profession,  has  a  meaning  for  a  few  only, 
'  but  for  the  general  it  needs  interpreters  '.  Shakespeare's  men  and 
Shakespeare's  women  are  moved  by  like  passions  and  desires  even  as 
we  are.  It  has  been  well  said  that  '  In  the  writings  of  other  poets,  a 
character  is  too  often  an  individual :  in  those  of  Shakespeare  it  is 
commonly  a  species '. 

Glaukon.  This  is  no  ordinary  poet,  my  friend,  you  represent. 
Please  continue. 

Taurides.  Nay,  my  friend,  of  my  eulogy — if  it  is  to  be  worthy 
of  its  subject — *  not  yet  the  pedestal  is  laid ',  but  even  if 

For  wellnigh  half  a  moon 
I  spoke  right  on, 

I  could  not  do  more  than  mention  a  fraction  of  his  excellences,  seeing 
that  he  not  merely  surpassed  his  predecessors  and  his  contemporaries, 
but  has  set  a  mark  which  after-generations  find  impossible  to  surpass. 
Shall  I  praise  first  his  language — his  perspicuity,  his  harmony,  his 
copious  diction,  *  a  well  of  English  undefiled  '  ?  Shall  I  praise  his  intel 
lectual  qualities — his  grandeur  and  his  compass,  his  nimbleness,  literally 
his  *  myriad-mindedness  '  ?  Shall  I  tell  you  how  he  manages  the  comic 
element — grazing  at  times  the  vulgar,  yet  always  observing  truth  to 
life  ?  Or  his  use  of  the  commonplaces — his  philosophy — his  sententiae 
or  pithy  sayings,  most  of  which  have  already  passed  into  proverbs,  and 
which  every  Englishman  has  '  bound  about  his  heart  continually  and 
tied  about  his  neck  '  ?  Or  his  power  in  the  expression  of  the  emotions, 
whether  anger,  or  pity,  or  sorrow  ?  Or  the  songs  he  has  everywhere 
introduced  in  his  drama — what  John  Milton  calls  *  his  native  woodnotes 


7)     TTpCTTOV    i(T(0$     CLV     €11)    fJLakXoV     €V     KCiLpto     TOiOVTCO     T7J$     TTdTplSo? 

tca0€(7Td)(rrf$  TO  <fri\.OTro\t,  avrov  VTrawsiv  KOLL  eiceivcw  fJuvrjaOyvai  a 
7rafJL7TO\Xa  eypa^ev  el?  evkoylav  ajta  TWV  Ayyhcov  KCU  Trapaxe- 
\evo-jji6v,  old  ccrnv  ciceiva  ra  aperfjs  re  KCU  avftpayaOias  Trveoirra, 
a  GV  rw  *\toavvri  Tvpavvw  KelraC  <f>7jo~i  yap  TTOV' 

8*    loVTOtV    KOLTTO 

ILTCJV  8*  aTT*  Evpou  /cat  Mecnj/x/J/Has 
vet/3a)<TO/Ltc(r^a  iravras'    ov  yap  ccr6'  ort 
ci?  T(i<j>pov  ar>ys  KarajSaXet  TTJV  'AyyXtav 
"AyyXot  y    cavrtSi/  cia>s  av  SHTIV  a^ioi. 

eyyi/9  yap  ffbtj  opto  rrjv  rov  KaAAt'ou  oitciaVy  Trap    <5 


avrap  eya>  /cat  o-€ib  /fat  dXXijs  /infcro/m,'  0018^9 

A.  W.  MAIR. 

A.  W.  MAIR  305 

wild  '  ?  Or  perhaps  it  would  be  more  appropriate,  in  view  of  the  critical 
position  in  which  my  country  now  is  placed,  to  praise  his  patriotism 
and  to  refer  to  the  numerous  passages  which  are  at  once  praise  of 
England  and  an  exhortation  to  Englishmen  :  for  example,  those  lines 
breathing  of  manhood  and  valour  which  occur  in  King  John  : 

Come  the  three  corners  of  the  world  in  arms, 

And  we  shall  shock  them.    Nought  shall  make  us  rue, 

If  England  to  itself  do  rest  but  true. 

But  here  we  are  at  the  house  of  Callias,  with  whom  I  am  going  to 
stay,  so  I  must  stop.  We  shall  discuss  these  topics  in  more  detail 
another  time.  *  So  fare  thou  well  .  .  .  but  I  shall  remember  thee  and 
another  song.' 

A.  W.  MAIR. 



ECCE  dies  felix  vatis  tria  saecula  summi 

Accumulans  ipsum  concelebrare  iubet! 
Romanumque  Anglumque  simul,  puerumque  Britannum, 

1  STRATA  tulere  VADI  dulcis  AVONA  tui : 
Cor  patriae  iuvenem  pavit,  suavissima  rura, 

Urbs,  caput  ipsa  altis  urbibus,  inde  fovet : 
Tradidit  urbs  orbi  terrarum,  aetatibus  aetas, 

Oceano  Tamesis  ripa,  GLOBUSQUE  globo  : 
REGIA  ut  aequabat  pelago  sua  signa  VIRAGO, 

Naturae  atque  hominum  splendidus  auctor  erat ; 
2  Aurea  cui  cunctae  limarunt  dicta  Camenae, 

Commisitque  suam  Delius  ipse  lyram. 
Mel  stillat  Sophoclis,  lacrimis  Euripidis  undat, 

Cumque  furore  opus  est,  Aeschylus  ille  tonat ; 
Ludere  seu  placet  et  socco  mutare  cothurnum, 

Alter  Aristophanes,  Plautus  et  alter,  erit. 
O  patriae,  O  Musarum,  O  libertatis  amator, 

Haec  dum  tutamur,  spiritus  altor  ades  ! 
Aerumnis  solitam  fer  opem,  repetatque  precamur 

Nunc  tua  dilectos  nobilis  umbra  Lares  ! 
Venturi  certis  actum  celebrare  licebit 

Sic  aevum,  ut  referes  spemque  fidemque  tuis ! 


Poet  ices,  apud  Oxon.,  nuper  Praelector  ; 
Coll.  B.  M.  Magd.  Praeses. 

1  I  know  not  whether  it  has  been  remarked,  but  it  is  certainly  remarkable,  that  the 
name  4  Strat-ford  on  Avon '  contains  the  record  of  the  three  chief  races  which  have  made 
our  country  and  tongue. 

2  And  precious  phrase  by  all  the  Muses  filed. — Sonnet  LXXXV.  v.  4. 

H.  GOLLANCZ  307 


?  D'T  "fe  I  Wl    D'^y  *TW7  PNn     *  Hath  not  a  Jew  eyes  ?    Hath  not 
if/'  i  a  Jew  hands?' 

^b  fc  vb\  wu  enn  w  DKH 


PlTini  V»p    Dini  11p     «  Warmed  and  cool'd  by  the  same 
/  1          »i/  ».  ,  ..-' 

.  ,  . 

winter  and  summer  ? 

ifnm  nin*n  hy  na  Syi   why  scorn  ye  him  then? 


j;     When  the  days  were  dark,  a  Seer 

,  arose;  lifting  his  voice  in  parable 

WflTI  p«   HD^»  *|fiyin    TX     and  song,   he   gave   utterance  to 

this  plea. 

anan  nrnn  nnnn  on 

Kin  nrw  nr 


rej°ice>  ye  Isles  °f 

For  here  was  born  the  Si 

sweetest  of  song  ! 





'.He  vvas  not  of  an  as6*  but  for  ail 



n  Tipa  uriKa  Trip  yas?: 

Tiaaa  iae>  aie  Kin  p  manai 

ir  *a  ^tt«  1PSJ  paaa  D8T  31b     'Good  name  ',  said  he,'  in  man  and 
r  j  woman  is  the  immediate  iewel  of 

yy  ioiy  «in  piya  piyn  oipa  P  TX  their  soui.' 

cyn  v^i  nnm 

Misname  no  man  can  glorify;  for 
^e  world  is  too 

n  rtaarn 

wn  runa 

«S  p     No  man  can  utter  his  praise;  he  is 

tmrti  frii  tmvan  ^m  te   Chief  ""^  ^  singers' 

Let  us  exult,  we  men  of  this  age, 

for  s^68^6  is 

!  uruun  wn  twan 


DV  I?*  Ha  «in 

With  prophetic  spirit  he  spake  the 

nann  nan  n^ra 
w^ai  nwin  nrm 

N1?  DSiya  nNTn  p«n     'This    England    never    did,    nor 
§  i  I  never  shall, 

mn\  f  iy  vsb  ny  ny  iraoic  ^isn  161  Lie  at  the  proud  foot  of  a  con- 
nSoaa  nnyoa  paa  »waa  u^y  on^n1?  DM        quei  )r; 



Naught  shall  make  us  rue, 
OK     If  England  to  itself  do  rest  but  true.' 







TID*  N71 





fiS  Witt  DJ 



'This  royal  throne  of  Kings,' 
the  sceptre  shall  never  depart  from 
the  Isles-a  land  of  splendour  and 
honour,  to  freedom  holding:  true, 
hers  the  abundance  of  the  seas, 

sea,  [wall, 

Which  serves  it  in  the  office  of  a 
Or  as  a  moat  defensive  to  a  house, 
Against  the  envy  of  less  happier 

Rejoice  and  be  glad,  O  Isles  of  the 

The  spirit  of  Shakespeare  shieldeth 

his  folk! 

Bn3«   Mft 

nan  <u>  nrrn 

y  jn 

iryi  inS  DK 


By  the  spirit  divine  he,  the  patriot 
prophet,  taught  men  to  seek  first 
The  weal  of  the  realm;  he  strength. 

biteth-'.   ;Sweet  are  the  uses  of 


So  taught  he  of  good  and  m. 

«  m  nun 
pn  ina^n  nswn 

n^yaa  D^yi  msrya  nr 

iay  wv  nn 
K  nata 


These  things  he  did  see  and  told  of. 
List  to  his  voice!  This  hero  be 
hold, — *  his  work  under  the  heaven 
is  bright  as  the  sapphire ',  and  he, 
like  to  an  angel  speeding  to  and 
fro,  sings  this  song  amid  the  choir 
angelic  :— 

1  Let  all  the  ends  thou  aim'st  at  be 
thy  country's,  thy  God's,  and 

E'en  this  year  let  us  be  glad 
in  praising  together  his  name  and 
his  fame ! 





:  H  9  u 


u  3  u 

u  8  u 


i  ^  o 



1.  THREE  hundred  years  ago   this  great  poet,  who  arose   in  the  town  of  Stratford 

(vUhikd-tlrlha\  in  the  spring,  casting  off  his  mortal  frame,  entered  into  immor 
tality  there. 

2.  '  By  the  imperishability  of  my  works  a  column  of  fame  is  assuredly  surpassed':  so 

the  Roman  poet  said.  How  much  more  such  words  befit  him  who  significantly 
became  a  '  Shakespear  '  (calayac-saktt :  '  one  who  shakes  his  spear '  and  '  one  whose 
genius  spreads'). 

3.  For  always  challenging  his  rivals'  fame  and  extending  his  renown  in  every  land,  he  then 

became  unique,  unrivalled  on  earth  among  literary  men  by  the  force  of  his  poetic 
genius  (or  spear). 

4.  Behold,  a  marvel  appears  in  the  land  of  our  foes  intent  on  the  destruction  of  this  poet's 

countrymen  :  claimed  as  their  own  he  is  celebrated  there  to-day  with  a  great  festival. 

5.  For  to  this  composer  of  plays,  not  his  own  country  only  but  the  world  itself  is  the 

stage  on  which  by  skilfully  mingling  mirth  and  gravity  he  displays  the  vicissitudes 
of  human  fate. 

6.  His  pre-eminence  is  praised  by  ordinary  men  and  by  the  greatest  of  poets  as  well  with 

unanimity.     Hence  he  is  exalted  in  the  host  of  literary  men  like  the  sun  that  fares  in 
the  midst  of  the  planets. 

7.  He  needs  no  glorifying  monument,  for  he  will  endure  for  ever  like  the  sun  and  moon. 

No  conqueror  by  universal  victory  has  ever  reached  the  level  of  his  lustre. 

This  encomium  has  been  composed 

by  the  teacher  Mugdhanala  ('  fire  of  the  ignorant ') 

living  in  the  University  of  Oxford 

in  the  year  1916. 

X  2 



A  SOUL  supreme,  seen  once  and  not  again, 

Spoke  in  a  little  island  of  great  men 

When  first  our  cabin 'd  race  drew  ampler  breath 

And  won  the  sea  for  wise  Elizabeth, — 

Spoke  with  a  sound  and  swell  of  waters  wide 

To  young  adventure  in  a  May  of  pride, 

Told  of  our  fathers'  deeds  in  lines  that  ring 

And  showed  their  fame  no  scant  or  paltry  thing. 

Then  as  our  warring,  trading,  reading  race 

Moved  surely  outward  to  imperial  space, 

Beyond  the  tropics  to  the  ice-blink's  hem 

The  mind  of  Shakespeare  voyaged  forth  with  them. 

They  bore  his  universe  of  tears  and  mirth 

In  battered  sea-chests  to  the  ends  of  earth, 

So  that  in  many  a  brown,  mishandled  tome, 

— Compacted  spirit  of  the  ancient  home, — 

He  who  for  man  the  human  chart  unfurled 

Explored  eight  oceans  and  possessed  the  world. 

Children  of  England's  children,  breed  new-prized, 
Building  the  greater  State  scarce  realized, 
Sons  of  her  sons  who,  unreturning,  yet 
Looked  o'er  the  sundering  wave  with  long  regret, 
Grandsons  on  clear  and  golden  coasts,  how  seems 
The  grey,  ancestral  isle  beheld  in  dreams  ? 

*  We  have  a  vision  of  our  fathers'  land,' 

4  The  realm  of  England  drawn  by  Shakespeare's  hand,' 

W.  P.  REEVES  313 

*  The  lordly  isle  beyond  the  narrow  sea 

*  Fronting  the  might  of  war  light-heartedly  ; ' 

*  Her  history  his  shining  pageant  set ' 

*  With  stately  Tudor  and  Plantagenet ; ' 

*  Her  magic  woods,  dim  Arden  cool  and  green ; ' 
'  The  imperial  votaress  her  maiden-queen ' 

*  Throned  in  a  kingdom  brave  and  sweet  and  old/ 
'That  is  the  England  that  we  have  and  hold/ 

*  His  dream  majestic  borne  to  shores  afar/ 

— '  Old  England,  kind  in  peace  and  fierce  in  war/ 

*  The  dream  that  lives  where  e'er  his  English  rove ' 

*  The  land  he  left  for  lands  unknown  to  love  ! ' 


(formerly  High  Commissioner  for  New  Zealand). 


IMMORTAL  searcher  of  the  hearts  of  men, 
Who  knewest,  as  none  else,  this  human  life, 
Its  dread  ambitions  and  its  passions  rife  ; 

And  limned  it,  godlike,  with  thy  wizard  pen, 

In  mighty  numbers  and  divinest  ken  : 

Here,  in  this  anguished,  war-embattled  world, 
Where  Right  'gainst  Wrong's  grim  panoply  is  hurled 

In  titan  strife  ; — we  turn  to  thee  agen. 

For  thine  unfading  genius  stands  for  all 

Our  ancient  Britain's  greatness  and  her  woe  : 
Yon  old  king's  babblings  o'er  Cordelia's  corse, 
The  Dane's  despairings  and  the  queen's  remorse, 
One  pageantry  sublime,  through  which  do  call 
God's  trumpets  from  His  triumphs  long  ago. 



TO  SHAK£SPEA1{E,  1916 

WITH  what  white  wrath  must  turn  thy  bones, 
What  stern  amazement  flame  thy  dust, 

To  feel  so  near  this  England's  heart 
The  outrage  of  the  assassin's  thrust. 

But  surely,  too,  thou  art  consoled, — 

Who  knewest  thy  stalwart  breed  so  well, — 

To  see  us  rise  from  sloth  and  go, 

Plain  and  unbragging,  through  this  hell. 

And  surely,  too,  thou  art  assured  ! 

Hark  how  that  grim  and  gathering  beat 
Draws  upwards  from  the  ends  of  earth — 

The  tramp,  tramp  of  thy  kindred's  feet ! 



UNSEEN  in  the  great  minster  dome  of  time, 

Whose  shafts  are  centuries,  its  spangled  roof 

The  vaulted  universe,  our  Master  sits, 

And  organ-voices  like  a  far-off  chime 

Roll  through  the  aisles  of  thought.    The  sunlight  flits 

From  arch  to  arch,  and,  as  he  sits  aloof, 

Kings,  heroes,  priests,  in  concourse  vast,  sublime, 

Whispers  of  love  and  cries  from  battle-field, 

His  wizard  power  breathes  on  the  living  air. 

Warm  faces  gleam  and  pass,  child,  woman,  man, 

In  the  long  multitude  ;   but  he,  concealed, 

Our  bard  eludes  us,  vainly  each  face  we  scan, 

It  is  not  he  ;   his  features  are  not  there ; 

But  these  being  hid,  his  greatness  is  revealed. 


(Senior  Chaplain,  ist  Canadian  Division,  B.  E.F.). 



'  To  mark  by  some  celebration  the  intellectual  fraternity  of  mankind.' 

ALIKE  to  those  who  grieve  for  Europe  in  her  hour  of  civil  war,  and 
to  those  who  would  offer  tribute  at  the  shrine  of  William  Shakespeare, 
it  must  appear  appropriate  and  significant  to  publish  tokens  of  the 
brotherhood  of  man  in  art.  For  no  one  has  been  more  distinguished 
than  William  Shakespeare,  in  his  profound  appreciation  of  the  common 
humanity  of  an  infinite  variety  of  men. 

Civilization  must  henceforth  be  human  rather  than  local  or  national, 
or  it  cannot  exist.  In  a  world  of  rapid  communications  it  must  be 
founded  in  the  common  purposes  and  intuitions  of  humanity,  since  in 
the  absence  of  common  motives  there  cannot  be  co-operation  for  agreed 
ends.  In  the  decades  lately  passed — in  terms  of  *  real  duration  ',  now 
so  far  behind  us — it  has,  indeed,  been  fashionable  to  insist  upon  a  sup 
posed  fundamental  divergence  of  European  and  Asiatic  character  :  and 
those  who  held  this  view  were  not  entirely  illogical  in  thinking  the  wide 
earth  not  wide  enough  for  Europe  and  Asia  to  live  side  by  side.  For 
artificial  barriers  are  very  frail :  and  if  either  white  or  yellow  *  peril  ' 
were  in  truth  an  essentially  inhuman  force,  then  whichever  party  believed 
itself  to  be  the  only  human  element  must  have  desired  the  extermina 
tion,  or  at  least  the  complete  subordination,  of  the  other. 

But  the  premises  were  false  :  the  divergences  of  character  are 
superficial,  and  the  deeper  we  penetrate  the  more  we  discover  an  identity 
in  the  inner  life  of  Europe  and  Asia.  Can  we,  in  fact,  point  to  any 
elemental  experience  or  to  any  ultimate  goal  of  man  which  is  not  equally 
European  and  Asiatic  ?  Does  one  not  see  that  these  are  the  same  for  all 
in  all  ages  and  continents  ?  Who  that  has  breathed  the  pure  mountain 
air  of  the  Upanishads,  of  Gautama,  Sankara,  Kabir,  Rumi,  and  Laotse 
(I  mention  so  far  Asiatic  prophets  only)  can  be  alien  to  those  who 
have  sat  at  the  feet  of  Plato  and  Kant,  Tauler,  Behmen,  Ruysbroeck, 
Whitman,  Nietzsche,  and  Blake  ?  The  last  named  may  well  come  to  be 
regarded  as  the  supreme  prophet  of  a  post-industrial  age,  and  it  is 


significant  that  one  could  not  find  in  Asiatic  scripture  a  more  typically 
Asiatic  purpose  than  is  revealed  in  his  passionate  will  to  be  delivered 
from  the  bondage  of  division  : 

I  will  go  down  to  self-annihilation  and  eternal  death, 

Lest  the  Last  Judgment  come  and  find  me  un annihilate, 

And  I  be  seiz'd  and  giv'n  into  the  hands  of  my  own  Selfhood. 

But  it  is  not  only  in  Philosophy  and  Religion — Truth  and  Love — but 
also  in  Art  that  Europe  and  Asia  are  united  :  and  from  this  triple  like 
ness  we  may  well  infer  that  all  men  are  alike  in  their  divinity.  Let  us 
only  notice  here  the  singular  agreement  of  Eastern  and  Western  theories 
of  Drama  and  Poetry,  illustrating  what  has  been  said  with  special  refer 
ence  to  the  hero  of  our  celebration  :  for  the  work  of  Shakespeare  is  in 
close  accordance  with  Indian  canons  of  Dramatic  Art.  '  I  made  this 
Drama  ',  says  the  Creator,  *  to  accord  with  the  movement  of  the  world, 
whether  at  work  or  play,  in  peace  or  laughter,  battle,  lust,  or  slaughter 
— yielding  the  fruit  of  righteousness  to  those  who  are  followers  of  a 
moral  law,  and  pleasures  to  the  followers  of  pleasure — informed  with 
the  diverse  moods  of  the  soul — following  the  order  of  the  world  and  all 
its  weal  and  woe.  That  which  is  not  to  be  found  herein  is  neither  craft 
nor  wisdom,  nor  any  art,  nor  is  it  Union.  That  shall  be  Drama  which 
affords  a  place  of  entertainment  in  the  world,  and  a  place  of  audience  for 
the  Vedas,  for  philosophy  and  for  the  sequence  of  events/ 

And  poetry  is  justified  to  man  inasmuch  as  it  yields  the  Fourfold 
Fruit  of  Life — Virtue,  Pleasure,  Wealth,  and  Ultimate  Salvation.  The 
Western  reader  may  inquire,  '  How  Ultimate  Salvation  ?  '  and  the 
answer  can  be  found  in  Western  scriptures  : 

Von  Schonheit  ward  von  jeher  viel  gesungen, 
Wem  sie  erscheint,  wird  aus  sich  selbst  entriickt. 

That  is  the  common  answer  of  the  East  and  West,  and  it  is  justified  by 
the  disinterestedness  of  aesthetic  contemplation,  where  the  spirit  is 
momentarily  freed  from  the  entanglement  of  good  and  evil.  We  read, 
for  example,  in  the  dramatic  canon  of  Dhanamjaya  : 

'  There  is  no  theme,  whether  delightful  or  disgusting,  cruel  or 
gracious,  high  or  low,  obscure  or  plain,  of  fact  or  fancy,  that  may  not  be 
successfully  employed  to  communicate  aesthetic  emotion.'  We  may 
also  note  the  words  of  Chuang  Tau, 

The  mind  of  the  Sage,  being  in  repose,  becomes  the  mirror  of  the  universe, 

and  compare  them  with  those  of  Whitman,  who  avows  himself  not  the 
poet  of  goodness  only,  but  also  the  poet  of  wickedness. 


It  is  sometimes  feared  that  the  detachment  of  the  Asiatic  vision 
tends  towards  inaction.  If  this  be  partly  true  at  the  present  moment, 
it  arises  from  the  fullness  of  the  Asiatic  experience,  which  still  contrasts 
so  markedly  with  European  youth.  If  the  everlasting  conflict  between 
order  and  chaos  is  for  the  present  typically  European,  it  is  because 
spiritual  wars  no  less  than  physical  must  be  fought  by  those  who  are  of 
military  age.  But  the  impetuosity  of  youth  cannot  completely  com 
pensate  for  the  insight  of  age,  and  we  must  demand  of  a  coming  race 
that  men  should  act  with  European  energy,  and  think  with  Asiatic  calm 
— the  old  ideal  taught  by  Krishna  upon  the  field  of  battle  : 

Indifferent  to  pleasure  and  pain,  to  gain  and  loss,  to  conquest  and  defeat,  thus  make 
ready  for  the  fight.  .  .  As  do  the  foolish,  attached  to  works,  so  should  the  wise  do,  but 
without  attachment,  seeking  to  establish  order  in  the  world. 

Europe,  too,  in  violent  reaction  from  the  anarchy  of  laissez-faire,  is 
conscious  of  a  will  to  the  establishment  of  order  in  the  world.  But 
European  progress  has  long  remained  in  doubt,  because  of  its  lack  of 
orientation — *  He  only  who  knows  whither  he  saileth,  knows  which  is 
a  fair  or  a  foul  wind  for  him.'  It  is  significant  that  the  discovery  of  Asia 
should  coincide  with  the  present  hour  of  decision  :  for  Asiatic  thought 
again  affirms  the  unity  and  interdependence  of  all  life,  at  the  moment 
when  Europe  begins  to  realize  that  the  Fruit  of  Life  is  not  easily  attain 
able  in  a  society  based  upon  division. 

In  honouring  the  genius  of  Shakespeare,  then,  we  do  not  merely 
offer  homage  to  the  memory  of  an  individual,  but  are  witnesses  to  the 
intellectual  fraternity  of  mankind  :  and  it  is  that  fraternity  which  assures 
us  of  the  possibility  of  co-operation  in  a  common  task,  the  creation  of 
a  social  order  founded  upon  Union. 








WHEN  by  the  far-away  sea  your  fiery  disk  appeared  from  behind  the 
unseen,  O  poet,  O  Sun,  England's  horizon  felt  you  near  her  breast,  and 
took  you  to  be  her  own. 

She  kissed  your  forehead,  caught  you  in  the  arms  of  her  forest 
branches,  hid  you  behind  her  mist-mantle  and  watched  you  in  the  green 
sward  where  fairies  love  to  play  among  meadow  flowers. 

A  few  early  birds  sang  your  hymn  of  praise  while  the  rest  of  the 
woodland  choir  were  asleep. 

Then  at  the  silent  beckoning  of  the  Eternal  you  rose  higher  and 
higher  till  you  reached  the  mid-sky,  making  all  quartersiof  heaven 
your  own. 

Therefore  at  this  moment,  after  the  end  of  centuries,  the  palm 
groves  by  the  Indian  sea  raise  their  tremulous  branches  to  the  sky 
murmuring  your  praise. 










THE  river's  silent  flow 

Mirrors  the  glory  of  the  rosy  dawn  ; 

The  sunset-silence  in  the  golden  glow 

Mirrors  the  message  of  the  evening  song  ; 

The  burgeoning  leaf,  after  winter's  sleep, 

Mirrors  the  rosy  rapture  of  spring  ; 

The  bridal-palanquin  of  crystal  cup 

Reflects  the  virgin  beauty  of  red  wine  ; 

The  rivers  of  endless  Beauty 

Mirror  the  myriad  coloured  light  of  Truth  ; 

The  great  deeps  of  human  heart 

Mirror  the  radiance  from  Beauty's  Realm  ; 

And  thy  enchanted  verse  in  liquid  notes 

Mirrors  the  great  deep  of  human  heart  ! 


Under  the  flashing  sunbeams  of  thy  thought, 
Nature  herself  has  found  herself  revealed 
In  perfect  glory  in  thy  golden  song  ; 
The  conscious  mistress  of  her  treasured  wealth  ! 
The  eager  eye  in  search  of  thy  image 
Found  thee  enshrined  within  a  veil  of  light, 
Like  mighty  monarch  of  night  and  day, 
That  bathed  in  glory,  seeing  is  not  seen. 
Hid  from  the  world's  eye  thou  hast  beheld 
The  intricate  workings  of  her  inmost  soul  ! 
The  jealous  mistress  of  deep  mysteries 
Never  again  will  suffer  herself  to  bear 
A  seer  like  thee  who  took  her  by  surprise, 
Unveiled  in  starlight  and  mellow  moon. 






oooooo  qg 



Taik  lumtkye-na 
Pyam  obha  phyan 
Kabya  pandeik 
Gun  yaung  pheik  lyak 
Ml  dvan  sa  sas 
Chaya  phve  pyu 
Glta  mhu  dvaft 
Ce-nu  se-gya 
Chan-khyan  ba  saw 
Bhasa  Buddha 
Yu  vada  nhan 


Tu  mhya  that  shi 
Sabho  mi  ghe 
Nak-ne  zva  go 
Le-la  kyes-zui 
Gun  athus  phya°- 
Kyl-nu2  nha-lumS 
Paik  yu  kyum8  yve 
Shvan  pyums  ba  bhi 
GvamS  chi  thi  59 
Piti  pharana 
Pyam  nhaip  phya  si 

O 6:000 500:8ii  00 cg^GCOO 8—     Vam*  sa  as  mo  alvan  so* 

S.  Z.  AUNG 


>  $(90008000: 



Paik  kums  se-gya 
Gun  langa  phyan 
Kabya  phve  mhat 
Mhan  pya  dat  sag 
Paramat  sabho 
Chat-chat  ho  gyaung 
Shan  co  mu-nin 
Marajin  i 

Tauk  thin  yaung  va 
Sasana  si 
Shi  kya  pva§  lit 
Ye  tvak  cit  mu 
A-nhit  nhit  thaung 
Chaung  sa8  cvang  paw 


NaS  ya  kyaw  Us 


Ani  o  ya  lyak 

Tauk  pa  thvans  pyaung 

Khu  taing  aung  Ihyan 

Ayaung  lak  phi 

Amye  shi  i 

Asi  sakse 

Ma-sve  a  mat  a 

I  kabya  si 

-     KyamS  la  mya8  16  afihvan  soS 



Saik  thumJ  ve-cha 
Khyini  khyim  nyS.  lyak 
Sankhya  tvak  cit 
A-nhit  sumg  ya 
She?  Ivan  kh5  ga 
Pafifia  yan  slg 
Yv&  daingSpyl?  yve 
Nan  gylg  puggo 

noc^jo^coos  Kabya  ch6  sag 

Tho  Sheik-ca-pya 
Myat  chaya  ag 

0000)0 (f^g  Bhasa  Buddha 

Cve  yu  gya  sag 
Myan-ma  nv6  yo? 
Myan  lu  my6s  d6 
Chaung  ky6g  a-tvak 
Lvan  a:  tak  vye 
Ma-pyak  sim:  khy6k 
A-kyvan-nok  si 
Lak-6k  khyl  naw 
Shi  pu-jaw  i 
I  puja  si 

—     Nyams  ba  la§  s£  amvan  so§ 

S.  Z.  AUNG  327 



WHEN  I  carefully  studied  the  poems  of  the  illustrious  dramatic  poet 
Shakespeare,  whose  widespread  fame  is  known  all  the  world  over,  it  was  the 
Buddhistic  sentiments  in  them  that  appealed  to  me  most,  and  I  was  greatly 
rejoiced  hi  the  study  of  our  deep  philosophy,  inasmuch  as  they  added  to  the 
profound  interest  I  felt  in  the  subject. 


Because  of  the  ultimate  truth,  embodied  in  sublime  poetic  diction,  the 
splendid  and  wonderful  religion  of  that  Sage-Conqueror  has  lasted  to  this 
day,  with  untarnished  lustre  after  five-and-twenty  centuries,  as  a  standing 
witness  to  the  immortality  of  Shakespeare,  who  is  a  guide  unto  posterity, 
because  he  conforms  to  our  philosophy. 


May  this  my  tribute  of  appreciation,  on  behalf  of  Burmese  Buddhists,  to 
Shakespeare's  great  mind,  which  dwelt  on  lofty  thoughts,  constituting  a 
permanent  record  of  humanity  three  centuries  ago,  serve  as  a  standard  for 
future  generations. 

S.  Z.  AUNG. 


(a)  Lyric. 

'Ratu'  is  a  Burmese  lyric  which  was  originally  'sung'  but  not  '  made  '. 
Hence  it  was  generally  sung  hi  a  single  verse  known  to  this  date  as  Ekabaik 
(one  verse),  but  seldom  in  more  than  three  verses  called  Paikson  (complete 
verses)  except  hi  the  transitional  period  to  the  epic,  when  this  limit  was  ex 
ceeded.  When  sung  in  two  verses  the  piece  is  designated  Aphyigan  (lit.,  left 
to  be  completed). 

Y  2 


(b)  Metrical  feet. 

Each  verse  contains  the  same  number  of  feet,  usually  of  four  syllables 
each,  except  the  last,  which  is  generally  made  up  of  seven  syllables.  When 
there  are  more  than  four  syllables  in  a  foot  which  is  not  final,  two  short  syllables 
are  treated  as  one.  In  the  best  verses  the  initial  and  final  feet  are  alike 

(c)  Rhyme. 

As  a  rule  the  fourth  syllable  of  a  foot  rhymes  with  the  third  of  the  next 
and  the  second  or  first  of  the  third.  But  sometimes  the  fourth  syllable  of 
a  preceding  foot  may  rhyme  with  the  second  or  even  the  first  of  the  next 
foot  immediately  following. 

Pronunciation  of  the  Roman  Transcript. 

The  transliteration  is  phonetic, 
a,  a,  i,  I,  u,  u,  o  as  in  Pali  (or  Italian) ; 
e,  e,  as  in  French  ; 
6  as  oh  in  English ; 
au  as  ow  in  cow ; 

aw  as  aw  in  saw  (prolonged,  somewhat  like  o  in  or) ; 
ai  as  j  in  isle,  mile,  tide ; 

a  dot  subscribed  to  a  vowel,  or  a  final  consonant  following  a  vowel,  checks  the  tone  of 
the  vowel ; 

the  colon  mark  indicates  a  grave  accent,  e.g.  o :  as  o  in  go ; 

the  nasals  n  and  n  are  as  in  Pali  (approx.  ng  and  ny),  the  nasal  n  being  retained  as  n ; 

so  also  c,  ch,  th  (=  ch,  cch,  t-h). 
sh  as  in  English  she ; 
s  as  th  in  English  thin ; 
s"  as  th  in  the  or  they ; 
v  as  w  in  English ; 
an  as  in  in  English ; 

6k  as  oak  in  English,  but  with  k  sound  somewhat  mute ; 
eik  as  fin  tick,  but  with  k  sound  somewhat  mute ; 
ak  is  more  like  et  in  let,  with  /  sound  somewhat  mute ; 
it  as  in  English,  with  /  sound  somewhat  mute. 



HUMAN  nature  is  the  same  all  the  world  over,  and  every  human 
being  who  reads  Shakespeare  must  be  greatly  impressed  by  the  wonder 
ful  power  displayed  by  the  poet  in  touching  the  chords  of  human 
feeling,  and  by  the  comprehensiveness  of  his  study  of  mankind.  The 
impression  must,  of  course,  vary  according  to  the  individual  estimate 
each  person  makes  of  Shakespeare's  works.  Different  nations  also  will 
be  differently  impressed.  To  the  Burman  Shakespeare  appeals  most 
from  the  religious  point  of  view.  The  Burman  is  pre-eminently  a  reli 
gious  person  ;  he  has  been  cultured  in  Buddhist  ethics  and  philosophy 
ever  since  the  fifth  century  A.  D.,  the  traditional  date  when  Buddhism  was 
introduced  into  Burma.  The  evidence  of  this  religious  spirit  of  the  nation 
is  best  seen  in  the  literature,  the  prevailing  tone  of  which  is  religious, 
every  one  being  constantly  exhorted  to  do  the  utmost  amount  of  good 
while  in  this  world.  In  fact,  in  Burma  literature  is  religion  and  religion 
is  literature.  Now,  the  peculiar  thing  about  Shakespeare  is  that  he  very 
often  comes  to  the  Burman  Buddhist  as  a  relief — somewhat  like  the 
feeling  that  one  experiences  at  the  conclusion  of  an  oppressively  long 
sermon,  when  one  is  glad  to  get  away  to  the  open  air  and  indulge  in 
some  friendly  chat.  And  yet  Shakespearian  literature  manages  to  teach 
the  same  high  standard  of  ethics  as  the  Buddhist,  without  a  distinct 
ethical  tendency.  In  spite  of  his  vigorous  appreciation  of  the  world, 
Shakespeare  shakes  hands  with  the  Buddha,  in  his  utter  renunciation 
of  the  world. 

What  Shakespeare  has  been  to  Burma  is  very  little  compared  with 
what  he  will  be.  Already  some  of  his  plays  have  been  translated  into 
Burmese,  and  made  accessible  to  those  who  are  unable  to  enjoy  the  original. 
And  although  these  first  attempts  at  presenting  Shakespeare  in  Burmese 
garb  are  clumsy  enough,  owing  to  the  many  difficulties  encountered — 
the  Burmese  language  is  radically  different  from  the  English — there 
is  every  reason  to  believe  that  in  the  near  future  Shakespeare  will  make 
an  attractive  figure  on  the  Burmese  stage.  It  will  then  mark  an  epoch- 



making  change  in  the  history  of  Burmese  literature,  as  vital  as  has  been 
the  introduction  of  Buddhism.  The  Burmese  mind  is  plastic,  and  has 
produced  a  vast  literature  in  testimony  of  its  Buddhist  culture.  At 
present  it  is  passing  through  a  transitional  stage,  brought  about  by  the 
advent  of  the  English,  and  is  already  producing  novels  in  Burmese, 
which,  so  far  as  psychological  import  goes,  show  a  distinct  indebtedness 
to  English  culture.  It  was  in  1912  that  Julius  Caesar  was  first  staged  by 
the  students  of  the  Rangoon  College,  with  considerable  success ;  and 
who  can  tell  what  that  performance  means  to  Burma  ? 





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AFTER  two  lines  of  salutation,  the  poet  wishes  that  Shakespeare  could  rise  to  see 
how  the  present  state  of  the  world  agrees  with  the  world  as  it  is  described  in  his  dramas. 
Neither  civilization  nor  learning  has  affected  it  in  the  manner  hoped.  If  the  world  were 
just  to  Shakespeare's  memory,  there  would  be  a  general  truce  on  his  commemoration  day. 
He  then  briefly  describes  Macbeth,  Shy  lock,  Hamlet,  Romeo  and  Juliet,  characters  whose 
freshness  remains  through  the  ages,  like  the  art  of  the  Pharaonic  sanctuaries.  Shakespeare 
is  unapproached  by  his  successors,  unrivalled  by  his  predecessors.  He  looks  down  on 
all  from  the  sky  of  his  imagination,  and  flies  whither  the  fancy  cannot  venture.  For  a  time 
his  merits  were  ignored,  then  they  were  recognized,  and  his  forgiveness  was  implored. 
Similarly,  if  justice  were  done  to  the  Oriental  authors,  there  would  be  feasts  in  their 
honour  in  both  East  and  West.  Say  to  the  men  of  the  Thames,  when  the  gathering  in 
Shakespeare's  honour  is  listening  to  prose  and  verse :  However  great  your  pride  in 
your  mighty  fleet^  your  pride  in  the  unique  bard  is  yet  greater. 



THE  poet  briefly  describes  the  works  of  Homer,  Imruul-Kais,  Dante,  Victor  Hugo, 
and  Goethe,  adding  that  the  last  has  been  disgraced  by  his  compatriots.  Above  all  these 
he  sets  Shakespeare,  whose  characters  all  reappear  in  those  of  our  own  day.  He  briefly 
alludes  to  the  troubles  of  the  present  time,  with  an  imprecation  on  Krupp,  and  a  blessing 
on  Shakespeare  for  Romeo  and  Juliet. 




Go  fitlhela  ka  1896  ke  sa  le  lekaoana,  ke 
ne  ke  itsetse  Shakespeare  mo  lotlatlaneng. 
Ka  ngoaga  oo  ka  okoa  ke  dipolelo  tsa  ko- 
ranta  ea  Teemane  ka  ea  go  bona  Makgooa 
mo  Theatereng  ea  Kimberley  a  tshameka 
polelo  eaga  Hamkty  e  e  mo  bukeng  ngoe 
ea  gagoe.  Motshameko  o  oa  ntlhotlheletsa 
go  tlhotlhomisa  dikoalo  tsa  gagoe.  Ko  ga 
rona  mafoko  a  santse  a  boleloa  ka  mo- 
lomo  ka  maitisho ;  ere  re  tlotla  ka  maa- 
banyane  ke  fitlhele  ke  ana  go  feta  balekane 
baaka,  ka  ke  ne  ke  male  mocoedi  o  o  sa 
kgaleng  mo  bontsintsing  joa  buka  tsaga 

Pele-pele  ke  badile  polelo  ea  Segoaba  sa 
Venice,  ka  fitlhela  batho  ba  ba  boleloang 
ke  buka  eo  ba  choana  thata  le  batshedi  ba 
ba  itsegeng.  Ga  bo  go  nale  dimokolara 
dingoe  ko  Teemaneng,  ka  tla  ka  utloa,  ke 
se  na  go  bolela  mafoko  a  buka  eo,  tsala 
ngoe  eaka  e  mpotsa  gore,  ke  ofe  oa  dimo 
kolara  tseo,  eo  Shakespeare  o  mmitsang 
Shy  lock.  Moo  gotlhe  ga  ira  gore  ke  nyo- 
reloe  dikoalo  tsaga  Tsikinya-Chaka.  Erile 
ke  ntse  ke  di  balela  pele  ka  fitlhela  maele 
ale  mantsi,  a  bachomi  ba  kgabisang  puo 
ka  one — a  ke  ne  ke  itlhoma  ele  diane  tsa 
Sekgooa — ese  diane,  ele  dinopolo  tsa  ma- 
bolelo  aga  Shakespeare. 

Erile  ke  bala  polelo  eaga  Cymbeline  ka 

I  had  but  a  vague  idea  of  Shake 
speare  until  about  1896  when,  at 
the  age  of  18,  I  was  attracted  by 
the  Press  remarks  in  the  Kimberley 
paper,  and  went  to  see  Hamlet  in 
the  Kimberley  Theatre.  The  per 
formance  made  me  curious  to  know 
more  about  Shakespeare  and  his 
works.  Intelligence  in  Africa  is 
still  carried  from  mouth  to  mouth 
by  means  of  conversations  after 
working  hours,  and,  reading  a 
number  of  Shakespeare's  works, 
I  always  had  a  fresh  story  to  tell. 

I  first  read  The  Merchantof  Venice. 

The  characters  were  so  realistic 
that  I  was  asked  more  than  once  to 
which  of  certain  speculators,  then 
operating  round  Kimberley,  Shake 
speare  referred  as  Shylock. 

All  this  gave  me  an  appetite  for 
more  Shakespeare,  and  I  found  that 
many  of  the  current  quotations  used 
by  educated  natives  to  embellish 
their  speeches,  which  I  had  always 
taken  for  English  proverbs,  were 
culled  from  Shakespeare's  works. 

While   reading   Cymbeline,  I  met 



rakana  le  kgarebe  e  gompieno  eleng  'ma- 
bana  baa  ka.  Eare  ka  ke  ne  ke  ese  ke 
itse  segagabo — Setebele  saga  'Ma-Magana 
Tshegana — jaaka  jaanong ;  lefa  ene  a  ne  a 
itse  segaecho — Secoana  saga  Tau  a  Mo- 
coala  Tshega — ka  bo  ke  belaela  gore  a  jaana 
nka  mo  senolela  boteng  oa  maikutlo  aaka 
ka  shone  :  ke  fa  re  tla  dumalana  go  buisana 
ka  loleme  loa  barutegi,  ebong  Senyesemane 
shoora  Tsikinya-Chaka,  se  ka  nako  eo  ene 
ele  shone  puo  ea  Goromente  oa  rona. 
Khane  tse  re  ne  re  di  koalalana  ka  metlha 
di  ne  dile  kana  ka  tsela  ea  Kgalagadi ; 
gonne  ene  eare  ke  simolotse  ka  gore  ke 
bolela  maikutlo  a  pelo  eame,  ke  fitlhele  ke 
shoeditse  ka  go  'melegololela  bojotlhe  joa 
mooa  oa  me.  Fa  ele  ka  manyama  a  puo 
le  go  kanolola  dikakanyo  tsa  dilo  tse  di  sa 
bonoeng  phenyo  ea  mekoalo  eaka  e  ne  e 
lekalekana  fela  le  ea  mosadi  oaka.  Ke  se 
se  tlhomameng  gore  megopolo  ea  rona  e 
ne  e  ntse  logedioa  ke  dikoma  tsaga  Tsi 

Koalo  longoe  loa  gagoe  lo  re  lo  badileng 
ka  nako  eo  ke  phereano  ea  bo  Romeo  le 
Julieta.  Go  leredioa  ngoetsi  eo  o  buang 
puo  e  e  thoantshang  loleme.  Jaaka  Seku- 
dukama,  bagaecho  ba  ne  ba  go  ila  sefefehu ; 
bagagabo  le  bone  fela  jalo,  ba  ila  mogoe  eo 
o  puo  e  sa  tlalang,  e  sa  thoantsheng  loleme. 
Lefagontsejalo  ra  se  ka  ra  shoetsa  ka  go 
shoela  ko  diphupung  jaka  bo  Romeo  le 
kgarebe  ea  gagoe ;  ebile  baga  rona  gom 
pieno  ba  itumelela  bana  ba  rona,  dikoko- 
mana  tsa  madi  a  a  pekanyeng,  ba  ba  puo 
pedi  ko  loapeng  le  ko  Khooeng. 

Mo  tshimologong  ea  'moeleoele  ono — 
ke  gore  ka  1901 — ka  simolola  tiro  ea  diko- 
ranta  ;  ere  fa  ke  koala  dikgang  tsa  kago, 
tsa  musho,  le  tsa  ditlhabano  ke  di  none  ka 

the  girl  who  afterwards  became 
my  wife.  I  was  not  then  as  well 
acquainted  with  her  language — the 
Xosa— as  I  am  now ;  and  although 
she  had  a  better  grip  of  mine — the 
Sechuana — I  was  doubtful  whether 
I  could  make  her  understand  my 
innermost  feelings  in  it,  so  in  com 
ing  to  an  understanding  we  both 
used  the  language  of  educated  peo 
ple — the  language  which  Shake 
speare  wrote — which  happened  to 
be  the  only  official  language  of  our 
country  at  the  time. 

Some  of  the  daily  epistles  were 
rather  lengthy,  for  I  usually  started 
with  the  bare  intention  of  express 
ing  the  affections  of  my  heart  but 
generally  finished  up  by  completely 
unburdening  my  soul.  For  com 
mand  of  language  and  giving 
expression  to  abstract  ideas,  the 
success  of  my  efforts  was  second 
only  to  that  of  my  wife's,  and  it  is 
easy  to  divine  that  Shakespeare's 
poems  fed  our  thoughts. 

It  may  be  depended  upon  that  we 
both  read  Romeo  and  Juliet. 

My  people  resented  the  idea  of  my 
marrying  a  girl  who  spoke  a  lan 
guage  which,  like  the  Hottentot 
language,  had  clicks  in  it ;  while 
her  people  likewise  abominated  the 
idea  of  giving  their  daughter  in 
marriage  to  a  fellow  who  spoke  a 
language  so  imperfect  as  to  be  with 
out  any  clicks.  But  the  civilized 
laws  of  Cape  Colony  saved  us  from 
a  double  tragedy  in  a  cemetery,  and 
our  erstwhile  objecting  relatives 
have  lived  to  award  their  benedic 
tion  to  the  growth  of  our  Chuana- 
M'Bo  family  which  is  bilingual  both 
in  the  vernaculars  and  in  European 

In  the  beginning  of  this  century 
I  became  a  journalist,  and  when 
called  on  to  comment  on  things 


mabolelo  aga  Shakespeare.  Ka  1910,  jaka 
Mochochonono  o  phakaletse  mo  mago  di- 
mong,  King  Edward  VII  le  Kgosi  dile  pedi 
tsa  Becoana — bo  Sebele  le  Bathoeng — tsaa 
shoa.  Ka  tlhadia  kitsisho  tsa  dincho  tsa 
bone  ka  tsela  tsaga  Shakespeare  tse  di- 
reng  : 

Eare  fa  dikhutsana  dii  sboa 

Re  se  ke  re  bone  naledi  tse  di  megatla; 

Motlhango  go  shoang  dikgosi 

Go  tuka  le  magodimo  ka  osi. 

Ereka  Becoana  ele  ditlapela  tsa  tlholego, 
ebile  ba  rata  go  maitisho,  mabolelo  a  a 
ntseng  jalo  a  atisa  go  ba  gapa  dipelo.  Go 
tloga  fong,  eare  ke  phakeletse  ko  Kgosing 
ko  Goo  Ra-Tshi  di,  morenana  mongoe  a 
mpotsa  leina  ja  Khooe  eo  itseng  gobua  eo. 
Kgosana  ngoe  ea  mochomi  eabo  ele  fa 
kgotla,  ea  itlhaganela  ea  nkarabela ;  eare : 
William  Tsikinya-Chaka.  Lefa  toloko  di 
se  ke  di  dumalana  ka  metlha,  mo  pheto- 
long  ea  leina  je  re  kare  kgosana  e  tantse 
jaka  kama  gonne  bontsi  joa  batho  ba  ba 
umakoang  mo  mabolelong  aga  Shakespeare 
bo  shule  ka  chaka. 

A  jaana  go  ithata  bo  morafe  game  gase 
gone  go  nthatisang  dibuka  tsaga  Tsikinya- 
Chaka.  Nka  rarabolola  poco  e  ka  sechoan- 
cho  sa  mothale  o  mongoe  se  se  mphero- 
sang  sebete  fela  jaka  Tsikinya-Chaka  a 

Nkile  ka  ea  go  bona  motshameko  oa 
cinematograph  (dichoancho  tse  di  tsa- 
maeang),  oa  dipogo  tsa  Morena.  Ka 
fitlhela  batho  botlhe  ko  papolong  ea  Mo 
rena  ele  dichoancho  tsa  Makgooa.  Bo 
Pilato,  Baperisita — le  Simone  oa  Kireneo 
tota — botlhe-lele  ele  Makgooa.  Mocoana 
o  na  ale  esi  fela  mo  loferetlhong  loo,  ene 

social,  political,  or  military,  I  always 
found  inspiration  in  one  or  other 
of  Shakespeare's  sayings.  For 
instance,  in  1910,  when  Halley's 
Comet  illumined  the  Southern 
skies,  King  Edward  VII  and  two 
great  Bechuana  Chiefs — Sebele  and 
Bathoeng  —  died.  I  commenced 
each  obituary  with  Shakespeare's 
quotation : 

When  beggars  die  there  are  no 

comets  seen ; 
The   heavens   themselves    blaze 

forth  the  death  of  princes. 

Besides  being  natural  story-tellers, 
the  Bechuana  are  good  listeners, 
and  legendary  stories  seldom  fail 
to  impress  them.  Thus,  one  morn 
ing,  I  visited  the  Chiefs  court  at 
Mafeking  and  was  asked  for  the 
name  of '  the  white  man  who  spoke 
so  well'.  An  educated  Chieftain 
promptly  replied  for  me ;  he  said : 
William  Tsikinya-Chaka  (William 
Shake-the-Sword).  The  transla 
tion,  though  perhaps  more  free 
than  literal,  is  happy  in  its  way 
considering  how  many  of  Shake 
speare's  characters  met  their  death. 
Tsikinya  -  Chaka  became  noted 
among  some  of  my  readers  as  a 
reliable  white  oracle. 

It  is  just  possible  that  selfish  patriot 
ism  is  at  the  bottom  of  my  admira 
tion  for  Shakespeare.  To  illustrate 
my  meaning  let  me  take  a  case 
showing  how  feelings  of  an  opposite 
kind  were  roused  in  me. 

I  once  went  to  see  a  cinematograph 
show  of  the  Crucifixion.  All  the 
characters  in  the  play,  including 
Pilate,  the  Priests,  and  Simon  of 
Cyrene,  were  white  men.  Accord 
ing  to  the  pictures,  the  only  black 
man  in  the  mob  was  Judas  Iscariot. 



ele  Jutase.  Esale  jalo  ke  tlhoboga  maaka 
a  dibaesekopo,  le  gompieno  mono  London 
ke  bonye  ngoe  ea  macodimacoke  e  shupa 
maatlametlo  a  Makgooa  e  a  bapisa  le  ko- 
keco  ea  boboko  e  e  makgapha  ea  boatla  joa 

Koalo  tsag-a  Tsikinya-Chaka  di  nkgatlha 
ka  gobo  di  shupa  fa  maatlametlo  le  bonatla 
(jaaka  boatla  le  bogatlapa)  di  sa  tlhaole 

I  have  since  become  suspicious  of 
the  veracity  of  the  cinema  and 
acquired  a  scepticism  which  is  not 
diminished  by  a  gorgeous  one  now 
exhibited  in  London  which  shows, 
side  by  side  with  the  nobility  of 
the  white  race,  a  highly  coloured 
exaggeration  of  the  depravity  of 
the  blacks. 

Shakespeare's  dramas,  on  the  other 
hand,  show  that  nobility  and  valour, 
like  depravity  and  cowardice,  are 
not  the  monopoly  of  any  colour. 

Ke  nyaga  dile  300  jaanong  Tsikinya- 
Chaka  a  shule,  'me  ekete  o  na  a  tlhalo- 
ganya  maitseo  a  batho  ba  gompieno  thata. 
Kafa  mabolelo  a  gagoe  e  lolameng  ka  teng 
(lefa  gompieno  re  koalalana  le  lefatshe 
jotlhe  ka  bonako  joa  logadima,  ebile  re 
tedieaganya  ka  makoloi  a  a  ikgarametsang) 
ekete  re  santse  re  tlhaela  manontlhotlho  a 

Re  santse  re  le  mo  pakeng  tsa  borathana 
joa  dikoalo  tsa  Afrika.  Gola  tlhe  ea  kre  fa 
di  golela  pele  bakoadi  le  batoloki  ba  gati- 
setsa  Bancho  mabolelo  mangoe  aga  Tsi 
kinya-Chaka.  Ke  buisioa  ke  go  bo  ke 
fitlhela  ekete  ekare  fa  re  lateletse  ra  fitlhela 
a  theiloe  mo  metheong  e  e  dumalanang  le 
oa  maele  mangoe  a  Afrika. 

Shakespeare  lived  over  300  years 
ago,  but  he  appears  to  have  had  a 
keen  grasp  of  human  character.  His 
description  of  things  seems  so  in 
wardly  correct  that  (in  spite  of  our 
rapid  means  of  communication  and 
facilities  for  travelling)  we  of  the 
present  age  have  not  yet  equalled 
his  acumen. 

It  is  to  be  hoped  that  with  the 
maturity  of  African  literature,  now 
still  in  its  infancy,  writers  and  trans 
lators  will  consider  the  matter  of 
giving  to  Africans  the  benefit  of 
some  at  least  of  Shakespeare's 
works.  That  this  could  be  done 
is  suggested  by  the  probability  that 
some  of  the  stories  on  which  his 
dramas  are  based  find  equivalents 
in  African  folk-lore. 




NOT  in  marble  or  bronze,  the  sum  of  thy  lineaments  ; 
Not  in  colour  or  line  that  painter  or  graver  may  trace. 
Out  of  the  kingdom  of  vision,  gleaming,  transcendent,  immortal, 
Issue  thy  creatures  and  step  into  vesture  of  time  and  place — 
Each  with  passion  and  pulse  of  thy  heart ;  but,  passing  the  portal, 

Each  in  likeness  of  us.    And  listening,  wondering, 
Lo,  from  the  lips  of  each  we  gather  a  thought  of  thy  Face  ! 

Nature  walleth  her  womb  with  wreckage  of  history  : 
Touch,  O  Poet,  thy  lyre,  and  heart-beats  frozen  in  stone 
Tremble  to  life  once  more — to  the  towers  of  pain  and  of  pity — 

Build  themselves  into  thee,  thy  ramparts  of  rapture  and  moan, 
Cry  with  a  human  voice  from  the  passioning  walls  of  thy  city — 

Hamlets,  Richards,  Cordelias,  prisoned,  oblivious, 
Dateless  minions  of  death,  till  summoned  by  thee  alone. 

Fortune  maketh  of  men  pipes  for  her  fingering  ; 
Thou  hast  made  of  thine  England  music  of  nobler  employ  : 
Men  whose  souls  are  their  own  ;  whose  breastplate,  honour  untainted  ; 
Of  promise  precise,  God-fearing,  abhorring  the  dreams  that  destroy — 
The  Moloch  of  Force  ensky'd,  the  ape  of  Necessity  sainted  ; — 

To  country  and  freedom  true  ;  merciful,  generous, 
Valiant  to  merit  in  Fate  the  heart 's-ease  mortals  enjoy. 

Shaper,  thou,  of  the  tongue  !    Under  the  Pleiades, 
Under  the  Southern  Cross,  under  the  Boreal  Crown, 
Where  there  's  a  mother's  lap  and  a  little  one  seeking  a  story, 

Where  there  's  a  teacher  or  parson,  or  player  come  to  the  town — 
Mage  of  the  opaline  phrase,  meteoric,  dissolving  in  glory, 
Splendid  lord  of  the  word  predestined,  immutable — 
Children  are  learning  thy  English  and  handing  the  heritage  down. 


Who  but  opens  thy  book  :    odorous  memories 
Breathe  of  the  dear,  dear  land,  sceptred  and  set  in  the  sea. 
Her  primrose  pale,  her  sweet  o'  the  year,  have  savour  and  semblance 

For  Perditas  woo'd  in  the  tropics  and  Florizels  tutored  by  thee. 
The  rue  of  her  sea- walled  garden,  the  rosemary,  wake  to  remembrance 

Where  furrowed  exiles  from  home,  wintered  with  pilgriming, 
Yearn  for  the  white-faced  shores,  and  turn  thy  page  on  the  knee. 

No  philosopher,  thou  :   best  of  philosophers  ! 
Blood  and  judgement  commingled  are  masters  of  self-control. 
Poet  of  common  sense,  reality,  weeping,  and  laughter  : 
Not  in  the  caverns  of  Time,  not  in  the  tides  that  roll 
On  the  high  shore  of  this  world,  not  in  the  dim  hereafter — 

In  reason  and  sorrow,  the  hope  ;   in  mercy,  the  mystery  : 
By  selling  hours  of  dross  we  enrich  the  moment  of  soul. 

Poet,  thou,  of  the  Blood  :  of  states  and  of  nations 
Passing  thy  utmost  dream,  in  the  uttermost  corners  of  space ! 
Poet,  thou,  of  my  countrymen — born  to  the  speech,  O  Brother, 

Born  to  the  law  and  freedom,  proud  of  the  old  embrace, 
Born  of  the  Mayflower,  born  of  Virginia — born  of  the  Mother  ! 

Poet,  thou  of  the  Mother  !   the  blood  of  America, 
Turning  in  tribute  to  thee,  revisits  the  Heart  of  the  Race. 





Vouchsafe  to  those  that  have  not  read  the  story, 
That  I  may  prompt  them. — Henry  V,  prol.,  Act  V. 

THOSE  visitors  to  Stratford-on-Avon  who  have  wisely  arranged 
that  their  sojourn  covers  the  23rd  of  April  are  not  likely  soon  to  forget 
one  distinguishing  feature  of  the  ceremonies  whereby  that  day  is  marked. 
Not  the  streets  and  lanes  gay  with  garlands  and  flags  ;  not  the  impressive 
yet  simple  service  in  the  church  ;  but  the  sight  of  the  long  procession 
formed  of  young  and  old — men,  women,  children — all  bearing  flowers, 
either  in  bunches  or  in  single  blooms,  and  all,  in  a  spirit  of  homage  and 
reverence,  with  but  one  intent — from  the  small  boy  with  his  bunch  of 
primroses  or  cowslips  plucked  in  the  lovely  Warwickshire  lanes,  to  the 
dignified  Mayor  and  Town  Council  with  their  elaborate  wreaths  of 
laurel.  With  one  intent :  that  of  paying  tribute  to  the  memory  of 
Shakespeare  by  placing  some  offering  upon  his  grave,  beneath  that 
monument  in  Trinity  Church.  Slowly  the  throng  files  past,  each 
depositing  their  weedy  trophies  upon  that  shrine,  until,  where  before 
there  were  but  bare  grey  stones,  there  is  now  a  veritable  mound  of 
violets,  roses,  daffodils,  and  green  grasses.  Fortunate  ones  !  they  may 
thus  give  an  outward  and  tangible  expression  of  what  they  feel.  But 
what  of  us,  less  fortunate  ones  ?  We  of  the  New  World,  who  own 
a  common  heritage  in  Shakespeare  by  right  of  birth  and  language. 
Our  thoughts  turn  naturally  towards  that  common  goal,  even  as  the 
face  of  the  Moslem  turns  towards  Mecca.  From  the  four  corners  of 
the  earth  they  come  to  kiss  this  shrine,  and  that  procession  slowly 
passing  through  the  streets  of  Stratford  is  typical  of  all  who  wish  to  pay 
homage  to  Shakespeare  in  this  year  which  marks  the  three  hundredth 
anniversary  of  his  death.  May  we  not,  each  one,  bring  what  offering 
is  in  our  power  ?  Happy  he,  indeed,  whose  tribute  shall  prove  to  be 
made  of  immortelles,  but  happy  also,  he  whose  gift  shines  brightly 
if  only  for  that  one  day.  These  reverent  gifts  honour  the  givers  more 
than  the  recipient.  Could  any  one  hope  to  add  one  leaf  to  the  laurels 
on  Shakespeare's  brow  ?  We  cannot  make  the  service  greater  than  the 


god.  Yet,  granting  this,  there  is  a  certain  distinctive  mark  of  honour 
upon  this  tribute  which  comes  from  America.  It  is  a  record  of  over 
half  a  century's  devotion  to  the  reading  and  careful  study  of  Shakespeare's 
Comedies,  Histories,  and  Tragedies  ;  the  homage  paid  by  the  Shakspere 
Society  of  Philadelphia.  (This  spelling  of  the  name  was  adopted  by  the 
Society  in  its  corporate  title,  and  has  therefore  been  strictly  preserved.) 

The  origin  of  the  Society  is  of  the  simplest.  In  the  year  1852  four 
young  men,  then  studying  for  the  bar,  sought  a  means  of  relaxation 
from  their  prosaic  studies,  and  therefore  decided  to  meet  each  week,  for 
certain  hours  in  the  evening,  with  no  purpose  other  than  to  read  and 
study  the  plays  of  Shakespeare.  The  prime  mover  and  chief  of  this 
small  coterie  was  Asa  Israel  Fish,  a  man  of  wide  culture,  and  a  lover  of 
both  classic  and  English  poetry.  He  had  the  happy  faculty  of  gathering 
about  him  men  of  kindred  tastes,  and  of  causing  them  to  give  of  their 
best ;  he  was  thus  eminently  fitted  for  the  leadership  of  this  band  of 
brothers,  these  happy  few.  In  those  early  days  the  members  spoke 
of  themselves  as  the  *  Shakspere  Apostles  ',  not  with  any  irreverent  idea, 
but  rather  in  imitation  of  the  distinguished  English  Club  of  Apostles, 
to  which  frequent  reference  is  made  in  Bristed's  Five  Years  in  an  English 
University,  and  as  their  number  increased  it  soon  became  a  custom  to 
gather  at  a  commemoration  dinner,  on  a  date  usually  towards  the  end 
of  December.  Six  years  after  the  inception  of  the  Society  the  number 
of  members  had  grown  to  seventeen,  and  it  was  then  agreed  that,  accor 
dingly,  a  regular  organization  with  a  more  systematic  course  of  study 
was  advisable.  Although  from  the  beginning  Fish  had  nominally  been 
the  head,  yet  now  he  was  duly  elected  as  the  new  organization's  Dean, 
which  office  he  held  until  his  death  in  1879. 

The  Society,  as  such,  was  now  fairly  started,  and  its  records  were, 
for  the  first  time,  reduced  to  writing,  but  there  was  no  thought  of  a 
series  of  publications  as  had  been  the  aim  of  other  literary  societies, 
and  in  this  respect  the  Shakspere  Society  of  Philadelphia  is  in  a  class 
of  its  own.  Contributions  by  members  have  from  time  to  time  been 
printed,  but  for  private  circulation  only. 

Thus  regularly  organized,  the  Society  grew  and  flourished,  and  the 
nucleus  of  a  library,  for  use  during  the  meetings,  was  soon  developed. 
Under  the  personal  supervision  of  the  Dean  the  collection  grew  to 
nearly  six  hundred  volumes,  and  might  in  time  have  grown  to  valuable 
dimensions  had  it  not  been  unfortunately  lost  to  the  Society  by  the 
death  of  its  chief  custodian.  The  volumes  were  set  apart  in  Mr.  Fish's 
library,  but  were  unrecognized  as  the  property  of  others  when  his  own 
books  were  sold  by  his  executors.  A  set  of  Boswell's  Malone,  Staunton's 

Z  2 


facsimile  of  the  Folio,  and  an  imperfect  set  of  the  Ashbee  Quarto  fac 
similes  were  saved,  since  they  had  been  at  the  Society's  rooms  ;  but, 
lacking  a  complete  list  of  the  other  volumes  in  the  Dean's  charge,  the 
other  books  could  not  be  reclaimed.  But  this  is  anticipating,  and  we 
must  return  to  the  earlier  annals,  although  it  is  quite  unnecessary  to 
detail  the  work  of  the  Society  year  by  year.  The  plays  were  read  and 
studied,  with  discussion  and  explanation,  the  Dean  presiding  and 
directing  the  flow  of  reason  at  the  bi-weekly  meetings,  and  the  minutes 
duly  chronicle  the  growing  popularity  of  these  gatherings  followed 
by  a  mild  refection  and  the  elaborate  fare  provided  at  their  annual 
commemoration  dinners,  still  held  towards  the  end  of  December. 
The  year  1861  will  be  ever  held  as  memorable  in  the  history  of  our 
country,  and  no  less  prominent,  though  for  far  different  reasons,  must 
this  year  be  held  in  the  history  of  the  Shakspere  Society,  for  on  March  12, 
1 86 1,  it  received  its  charter  and  became  a  corporate  body.  Be  it  noted 
in  passing  that  our  Society  thus  antedates  by  three  years  the  Deutsche 
Shakespeare- Gesellschaft,  which  was  founded  in  1864  in  commemora 
tion  of  the  three-hundredth  anniversary  of  Shakespeare's  birth. 

A  clause  in  this  charter  provides  that  an  annual  meeting  be  held 
on  the  23rd  of  April  for  the  election  of  officers  and  the  transaction  of 
business.  This  it  was  which  caused  a  change  from  one  of  the  old  esta 
blished  customs  wherein  the  commemoration  dinner,  heretofore  held 
in  December,  was  transferred  to  follow  the  annual  meeting  in  April, 
and  it  has  thus  continued  ever  since.  The  propriety  of  such  a  change 
had  long  been  recognized,  but  was  overruled  by  the  Dean,  who  feared 
that  the  spring  months  would  never  furnish  dishes  sufficiently  delectable 
for  a  function  so  important.  It  is,  however,  recorded  that  he  now 
yielded,  and  this  excellent  change  was  made  chiefly  on  the  suggestion 
of  Horace  Howard  Furness,  who  was  then  Secretary  of  the  Society. 

During  those  troublous  years  of  the  civil  war  the  members  realized 
the  impropriety  of  an  appearance,  even,  of  festivity,  and  therefore  the 
annual  dinners  were  discontinued,  although  their  bi-weekly  meetings — 
mainly  composed  of  those  members  whose  years  made  them  ineligible 
for  service — were  still  held  in  a  desultory  fashion. 

Richard  L.  Ashhurst  was  a  member  at  this  time — he  became  Vice- 
Dean  later — and  wrote  a  short  history  of  the  Society  ;  therein  he  presents 
the  following  graphic  description  of  one  of  those  meetings  : 

The  members  were  seated  on  both  sides  of  the  long  table,  at  the  head  of  which  the 
Dean  was  seated.  Which  of  us  can  forget  the  affectionate  glance  over  his  spectacles  as  we 
entered,  half-reproachful  if  some  were  late  ?  Each  member  had  before  him  one  or  more 



editions  of  the  play.  In  front  of  the  Dean  stood  a  row  of  dictionaries  and  books  of 
reference,  Mrs.  Clarke's  Concordance,  Sidney  Walker,  &c.  We  had  not  then  the  invaluable 
Schmidt.  .  .  .  Nothing  that  I  remember  was  more  marked  in  its  fruitfulness  to  us  younger 
members  than  discussions  between  Professor  Short  and  Dr.  Krauth,  the  tendency  of  the 
mind  of  the  former  being  rather  to  a  rigid  or  literal  exegesis,  while  with  the  other  the 
poetic  judgement  and  sympathetic  insight  had  ever  sway.  While  over  all  the  debates  our 
dear  Dean  presided  with  his  solemn  courtesy,  seeming  often  to  be  swayed  himself  backward 
and  forward  with  the  drift  of  the  argument. 

With  but  a  very  slight  change  this  may  be  taken  as  typical  of  meetings 
even  down  to  the  present  day.  The  historian  also  notes  that  in  these 
later  times  the  study  is  much  more  discursive  and  exhaustive  than  in 
the  earlier,  and  that  consequently  longer  extracts  of  the  winter's  study 
were  covered  at  each  session.  It  was  formerly  quite  usual  to  read  an 
entire  Act  in  one  evening  ;  but  now  this  would  be  decidedly  the  excep 
tion,  a  hundred  lines  being  the  ordinary  amount. 

The  year  1864  1S  an  ever-memorable  one  to  all  Shakespearians  : 
it  may  be  called  the  zenith  to  the  nadir  of  the  present  year,  and  the 
Society  showed  its  recognition  of  an  occasion  so  important  by  resuming 
its  annual  dinner  on  the  23rd  of  April.  This  season  was  also  one  of 
peculiar  productiveness,  inasmuch  as  the  Notes  on  The  Tempest,  the 
winter's  study,  contributed  by  various  members,  were  not  only  carefully 
reduced  to  writing,  as  heretofore,  but  also  elaborately  printed.  This 
was  a  distinct  innovation,  and  even  yet  forms  the  most  permanent 
memorial  of  the  work  of  the  Shakspere  Society.  The  edition  was 
strictly  limited  ;  copies  are  now  esteemed  rarities,  and  seldom,  if  ever, 
have  been  offered  for  sale. 

In  the  spring  of  1865  the  whole  nation  was  contracted  in  one  brow 
of  woe  over  the  assassination  of  the  President,  and  the  Society,  again 
feeling  that  the  annual  festivity  would  be  unbefitting,  omitted  it. 

It  is  a  fact  known  to  but  a  few,  that  to  the  studies  and  work  of  the 
Shakspere  Society  may  be  directly  traced  the  inception  of  the  new 
Variorum  Edition  of  Shakespeare.  During  the  season  of  1866-7  tne 
play  read  in  the  winter's  study  was  Romeo  and  Juliet,  and  it  was  noticed 
by  Horace  Howard  Furness  that  frequently  a  whole  evening's  work  of 
discussion  and  comment  on  the  variations  of  the  texts  had  been  antici 
pated  in  the  notes  of  those  commentators  subsequent  to  the  Variorum 
of  1821,  which  edition,  heretofore,  had  formed  the  groundwork  for  the 
Society's  discussion.  In  that  edition  the  comments  of  all  former  editors 
are  given,  but  the  textual  notes  are  sadly  deficient.  In  the  monumental 
Cambridge  edition  of  Clark  and  Wright  the  textual  notes  are  exhaustive 
and  complete,  but  the  commentary  consists  of  a  few  explanatory  notes 


at  the  end  of  each  play ;  this  is,  however,  no  deficiency — the  avowed 
purpose  of  the  Cambridge  editors  was  but  to  furnish  a  text  based 
mainly  upon  that  of  existing  quartos.  The  need  of  an  edition  which 
should  combine  the  features  of  both  these  editions  on  a  single  page  was 
at  once  recognized,  and  the  work  of  gathering  and  classifying  the  notes 
was  undertaken  by  the  Secretary,  primarily  as  an  aid  to  the  work  of 
the  Society.  Its  value  to  other  students  was  at  once  apparent,  since  it 
practically  formed  a  continuation  of  the  Variorum  of  1821,  and  with  the 
stimulus  of  their  encouragement  the  editor  began  preparing  his  manu 
script  for  the  press .  The  volume,  Romeo  and  Juliet,  was  published  in  1 87 1 , 
two  years  after  its  inception,  and  is  dedicated  to  the  Shakspere  Society. 

It  is  needless  here  to  speak  of  the  character  of  that  volume,  or  of 
those  which  followed  and  now  form  a  lasting  memorial  of  that  most  able 
editor.  Their  worth  is  written  in  their  own  pages,  and  the  Shakspere 
Society  may  well  feel  proud  that  so  great  a  flood  has  flowed  from  so 
clear  a  source. 

The  year  1869  also  marks  the  establishment  of  the  Society  upon 
a  firmer  foundation,  and  the  annual  dinners  have  been  held  with 
scarcely  an  interruption  since  that  time.  A  distinctive  feature  of  these 
dinners  must  be  mentioned  :  as  far  back  as  1856  the  commemoration 
dinner  was  marked  by  an  elaborate  bill  of  fare,  whereon  each  dish  was 
characterized  by  a  quotation.  The  ingenuity  of  the  members  was  taxed 
even  to  the  uttermost  to  provide  a  line  or  passage  descriptive  of  the 
various  wines  and  edibles,  and  there  was  no  restriction  as  to  choice 
so  long  as  it  was  made  from  one  of  the  plays  or  poems  of  Shakespeare. 
In  1869  the  winter's  study  was  Richard  //,  and  it  was  then  decided  that 
for  the  bill  of  fare  all  the  quotations  should  be  from  this  play  only  ;  the 
result  was  most  successful,  and  from  that  time  this  rule  in  regard  to 
the  bills  has  been  strictly  followed.  In  1879 tne  death  of  Asa  Israel  Fish 
deprived  the  Society  of  one  who  had  so  ably  piloted  it  through  times  of 
stress  into  those  of  quiet,  and  his  loss  was  deeply  mourned.  He  was 
succeeded  as  Dean  by  Horace  Howard  Furness,  which  office  was  held 
by  him  until  his  death  in  1912,  and  he  was  then  succeeded  by  the  present 

These  short  and  simple  annals  may  well  close  here  ;  they  are  a 
record  of  our  loving  homage  to  Shakespeare.  This  then  be  our  tribute 
which,  in  thought,  we  reverently  place  before  that  glowing  shrine 
towards  which  all  thoughts  this  year  are  turning. 




THERE  is  a  fame  that  is  founded  on  the  verdict  of  the  many  ;  there 
is  a  fame  that  is  founded  on  the  verdict  of  the  few  :  and,  especially  in 
the  domain  of  art,  it  is  seldom  that  the  two  verdicts  coincide,  to  make 
the  vote  unanimous. 

In  all  the  arts  except  the  drama,  the  verdict  of  the  few  is  immeasur 
ably  more  important  than  the  verdict  of  the  many.  Artistic  taste 
requires  cultivation  ;  the  majority  of  people  are  uncultivated  ;  therefore 
the  taste  of  the  majority  is  very  likely  to  be  wrong.  The  fame  of  Milton 
is  secure  ;  but  it  is  based  upon  the  verdict  of  a  very  small  minority. 
If,  by  a  thorough  census  of  the  English-speaking  world,  we  should 
determine  exactly  the  number  of  people  who  have  read  Paradise  Lost 
from  the  outset  to  the  end,  not  for  any  fancied  sense  of  duty  but  for  sheer 
aesthetic  and  intelligent  delight,  we  should  doubtless  be  appalled  by 
the  paucity  of  the  enumeration.  Why,  in  the  face  of  such  neglect,  does 
the  fame  of  Milton's  epic  still  endure  ?  Why  is  the  verdict  of  the  culti 
vated  few  more  powerful  than  that  of  the  uncultivated  many  ?  It  is 
because,  in  the  long  leisure  of  the  centuries,  the  vote  of  the  minority  is 
repeated  generation  after  generation  and  acquires  emphasis  by  repeti 
tion.  There  have  always  been  a  few  who  knew  that  Paradise  Lost 
is  a  great  poem  ;  there  are  now  a  few  who  know  it ;  there  will  always 
be  a  few  who  know  it  :  and,  after  many  centuries,  the  host  accumulated 
from  this  imperishable  succession  of  minorities  will  outnumber  the 
majority  of  any  single  generation.  On  the  other  hand,  the  immediate 
verdict  of  the  multitude  in  favour  of  such  a  poem  as  Lucille  will 
ultimately  fail,  because  it  cannot  repeat  itself  perpetually,  through 
generation  after  generation.  Popularity  is  fleeting,  because  the  popu 
lace  is  fickle.  At  the  present  time,  the  paintings  of  Sir  John  Everett 
Millais  are  more  generally  enjoyed  than  the  paintings  of  Whistler  ;  but, 
when  the  toll  of  all  the  centuries  comes  ultimately  to  be  counted,  the 
few  who  have  always  appreciated  Whistler  will  show  themselves  more 
mighty  than  the  many  who  at  one  time  preferred  his  more  popular 
contemporary.  It  is  in  this  way  that  the  few  outvote  the  many, 


concerning  questions  of  artistic  taste  ;  it  is  in  this  regard  that  Henrik 
Ibsen's  famous  dictum  must  be  accepted  as  a  statement  of  the  truth — 
'  The  minority  is  always  right.' 

But  the  drama  differs  from  all  the  other  arts  in  the  fact  that  its 
primary  purpose  is  to  interest  and  entertain  the  multitude  ;  it  is  the 
only  art  which  is  required  to  appeal  at  once  to  the  popular  majority. 
In  this  particular  province  of  the  general  domain  of  art,  the  verdict  of 
the  many  outweighs  the  verdict  of  the  few.  Throughout  the  entire 
history  of  the  theatre,  no  dramatist  who  has  failed  to  interest  the  general 
public  of  his  own  day  has  ever  attained  a  subsequent  reversal  of  the 
verdict.  A  poet,  like  Milton,  may  be  considered  great  because  of  the 
repeated  vote  of  a  perpetual  minority  ;  but  a  dramatist  can  be  considered 
great  only  if  everybody  likes  him,  and  the  continuance  of  his  fame 
depends  directly  on  the  continuance  of  his  popularity. 

It  must,  therefore,  be  regarded  as  a  paradox  that  our  greatest 
dramatist  should  also  be  our  greatest  poet — that  the  one  writer  of  our 
English  language  who  has  supremely  satisfied  the  few  should  also  be 
the  one  playwright  who  has  completely  satisfied  the  many.  The  poet 
writes  for  a  minority  of  one — that  is  to  say,  primarily  for  himself,  and 
secondarily  for  such  individuals  as  may  be  sympathetic  with  his  mus 
ings  ;  but  the  dramatist,  by  the  conditions  of  his  craft,  must  write  for 
what  Victor  Hugo  called  the  mob.  To  be  able  to  make  both  of  these 
appeals  at  once,  to  achieve  simultaneously  these  two  totally  different 
endeavours,  is  the  unique  accomplishment  of  William  Shakespeare. 

No  other  play  has  ever  been  so  popular,  no  other  play  has  ever  been 
acted  so  many  times  or  has  drawn  in  the  aggregate  so  much  money  to 
the  box-office,  as  the  tragedy  of  Hamlet.  Yet  this  piece,  which  has  been 
so  emphatically  acclaimed  by  the  uncultivated  many,  is  praised  no  less 
highly  by  the  cultivated  few.  It  was  planned  by  a  great  playwright ; 
it  was  written  by  a  great  poet.  *  Some  quality  of  the  brute  incident ' — 
to  quote  a  phrase  of  Robert  Louis  Stevenson's — interests  and  entertains 
the  most  illiterate,  while  the  most  literate  admire  the  philosophical 
subtlety  of  the  thought  and  marvel  at  the  inimitable  eloquence  of  the 
style.  The  costermonger  in  the  gallery  is  thrilled  when  he  sees  the 
hero  dash  the  poisoned  cup  from  the  hands  of  Horatio  ;  and,  simultane 
ously,  the  Matthew  Arnold  in  the  stalls  is  thrilled  by  the  sheer  poetic 
eloquence  of  the  incidental  line — 

Absent  thee  from  felicity  a  while. 

It  is  precisely  because  of  this  paradox — because  he  is  capable  of 
appealing  simultaneously  and  with  equal  emphasis  to  the  costermonger 


and  to  the  apostle  of  culture — that  Shakespeare  is  our  greatest  hero. 
His  fame  is  founded  equally  upon  the  verdict  of  the  many  and  upon  the 
verdict  of  the  few.  His  work  is  both  popular  and  precious  ;  it  is  enjoyed 
by  the  majority  and  approved  by  the  minority.  There  can  never  be 
a  question  of  his  eminence  ;  for  the  vote  is  utterly  unanimous. 

There  are  two  tests  of  greatness  in  a  man  ;  and  these  tests  are 
antithetic  to  each  other.  First,  a  man  may  be  great  because  he  resembles 
a  vast  multitude  of  other  people  ;  or,  second,  a  man  may  be  great 
because  he  differs  vastly  from  everybody  else.  It  is  a  sign  of  greatness 
to  be  representative  ;  it  is  also  a  sign  of  greatness  to  be  unique.  The 
representative  man — in  the  great  phrase  of  Walt  Whitman — *  contains 
multitudes  '  ;  and,  when  we  grow  to  know  him,  we  know  his  nation 
and  his  time,  and  guess  at  all  humanity.  The  unique  man,  on  the  other 
hand,  contains  nothing  but  himself  ;  but  this  peculiar  entity  is  capable 
of  appearing,  for  a  focused  moment  of  attention,  the  most  interesting 
object  in  the  world.  In  the  history  of  American  literature,  for  instance, 
the  personality  of  Edgar  Allan  Poe  is  unique  and  the  personality  of 
Benjamin  Franklin  is  representative.  Poe  is  interesting  because  he 
differs  so  emphatically  from  everybody  else,  and  Franklin  is  interesting 
because  he  so  emphatically  resembles  everybody  else  in  eighteenth- 
century  America.  Poe  is  peculiar ;  Franklin  contains  multitudes. 
Each  is  great ;  but  they  are  great  for  antithetic  reasons. 

The  paradox  of  Shakespeare  is  that  he  is  great  in  both  of  these 
regards.  On  the  one  hand,  he  is  enormously  representative.  He  con 
tains  all  Elizabethan  England,  and  resumes  and  utters  nearly  all  that 
humanity  has  ever  thought  and  felt.  On  the  other  hand,  as  a  literary 
artist,  he  stands  unique.  No  other  writer,  before  or  since,  has  at  all 
approached  his  tumultuous  and  overwhelming  eloquence. 

It  is  the  project  of  the  popular  great  dramatist  to  agree  with 
the  majority — to  make  articulate  to  the  contemporary  multitude  the 
thoughts  and  feelings  that  are  latent  in  the  mob.  It  is  the  project  of  the 
unpopular  great  poet  to  agree  with  the  minority — to  lead  the  questing 
mind  to  pioneer  among  adventures  that  are  strange  and  new.  These 
two  projects  are  totally  distinct,  and  seem  irreconcilable.  Shakespeare 
has  reconciled  them.  It  is  for  this  reason  that  we  acclaim  him,  not 
illogically,  as  the  greatest  writer  of  our  language,  the  biggest  hero  of 
our  race. 





WE,  in  America,  claim  Shakespeare  as  our  own,  not  merely  because 
of  the  rich  heritage  of  our  English  ancestry,  but  because  Shakespeare, 
in  a  peculiar  sense,  belongs  to  the  world.  He  is  not  the  product  of  any 
particular  age  or  race  or  land.  He  transcends  the  limits  of  his  own 
tongue.  His  genius  has  created  a  universal  language,  the  language  of 
humanity.  His  characters,  drawn  as  particular  persons,  have  become 
universal  types,  the  concrete  living  expression  of  the  abstract  virtues 
and  vices  of  human  nature.  His  words  of  wisdom  have  become  folk 
proverbs,  whose  origin,  in  many  minds,  is  unknown  or  forgotten,  and 
yet  employed  so  constantly  in  the  daily  commerce  of  thought  as  to 
become  an  habitual  mode  of  expressing  the  elemental  experiences  com 
mon  to  all  mankind. 

Shakespeare 's  psychology  is  unerring.  The  strength  and  weakness 
of  man,  his  possibilities  for  good  or  evil,  the  subtle  play  of  motives 
which  reveals  character  and  determines  conduct,  the  sophistries  of  self- 
deception,  the  inner  fires  which  burn  out  the  soul  or  lighten  its  aspiring 
desire  towards  arduous  attainment,  the  sin,  the  folly,  and  the  glory  of 
mankind,  both  the  depths  and  the  heights  of  human  nature, — all  this 
Shakespeare  has  expressed  in  words  of  such  convincing  reality  and 
simplicity  as  to  leave  no  one  who  hears  them  a  stranger  to  himself. 

Shakespeare  expresses  for  us  thoughts  which  we  have  faintly  felt, 
yet  never  can  put  in  words.  And  when  we  hear  them,  even  for  the  first 
time,  there  is  a  suggestion  of  familiarity  about  them.  We  recognize  them 
as  our  own  ideas  discovered  for  us  by  this  prophet  of  the  human  soul. 

To  speak  a  universal  tongue,  appealing  to  all  men  of  all  races  and 
of  all  ages,  the  true  thought  must  find  its  expression  in  perfect  form. 
There  must  be  the  beauty  of  proportion  and  of  symmetry,  the  beauty 
of  rhythm  and  of  emotional  colouring,  the  creative  sense  which  fashions 
its  word  elements,  with  which  it  builds  into  a  balanced  mass  of  structural 
strength  and  grace.  Shakespeare  is  the  great  architect  in  the  guild  of 
letters, — the  master  workman.  Whether  it  be  a  temple  or  wayside 
shrine,  it  is  for  all  comers  a  place  of  refreshment  and  invigoration,  a  spot 
where  we  feel  impelled  to  renew  our  vows  and  go  on  our  way  with  new 
faith  and  new  courage. 




ENGLAND,  that  gavest  to  the  world  so  much — 

Full-breathing  freedom,  law's  security, 

The  sense  of  justice  (though  we  be  not  just) — 

What  gift  of  thine  is  fellow  unto  this 

Imperishable  treasure  of  the  mind, — 

Enrichment  of  dim  ages  yet  to  be  ! 

Gone  is  the  pomp  of  kings  save  in  his  page, 

Where  by  imagination's  accolade 

He  sets  the  peasant  in  the  royal  rank. 

Love,  like  a  lavish  fountain,  here  overflows 

In  the  full  speech  of  tender  rhapsody. 

He  dreamed  our  dreams  for  us.    His  the  one  voice 

Of  all  humanity.     Or  knave  or  saint, 

He  shows  us  kindred.    Partisan  of  none, 

Before  the  world's  censorious  judgement  seat 

We  find  him  still  the  advocate  of  each, 

Portraying  motive  as  our  best  defence. 

Historian  of  the  soul  in  this  strange  star 

Where  Vice  and  Virtue  interchange  their  masks  ; 

Diviner  of  life's  inner  mysteries, 

He  yet  bereaves  it  not  of  mystery's  charm, 

And  makes  us  all  the  wounds  of  life  endure 

For  all  the  balm  of  beauty. 

England  now, 

When  so  much  gentle  has  been  turned  to  mad, 
When  peril  threatens  all  we  thought  most  safe, 
When  honour  crumbles,  and  on  Reason's  throne 
Black  Hate  usurps  the  ermine,  oh,  do  thou 
Remember  Force  is  still  the  Caliban 
And  Mind  the  Prospero.     Keep  the  faith  he  taught ; 


Speak  with  his  voice  for  Freedom,  Justice,  Law,— 

Ay,  and  for  Pity,  lest  we  sink  to  brutes. 

Shame  the  fierce  foe  with  Shakespeare's  noble  word 

Say,  *  England  was  not  born  to  feed  the  maw 

Of  starved  Oblivion.'    Let  thine  ardent  youth 

Kindle  to  flame  at  royal  Hal's  behest, 

And  thy  wise  elders  glow  with  Gaunt 's  farewell. 

His  pages  are  the  charter  of  our  race. 

Let  him  but  lead  thy  leaders,  thou  shalt  stand 

Thy  Poet's  England,  true  and  free  and  strong  : 

By  his  ideals  shalt  thou  conqueror  be, 

For  God  hath  made  of  him  an  element, 

Nearest  Himself  in  universal  power. 




PROBABLY  no  personal  tribute  could  have  been  given  by  any  one 
in  the  last  three  hundred  years  which  would  have  aroused  in  William 
Shakespeare,  as  he  looks  down  upon  us,  if  not  his  gratification,  at  least 
his  tolerant  amusement  to  such  a  degree  as  the  ant-like  industry  ex 
pended  upon  his  plays  in  the  last  half-century.  In  consequence  of  this 
industry — particularly  as  focused  upon  the  stage-setting  and  the  general 
conditions  of  the  Elizabethan  theatre — we  have  a  more  accurate  and 
more  sympathetic  understanding  of  what  his  plays  meant  to  his  audiences 
and  to  himself  than  men  have  had  at  any  time  since  the  closing  of 
the  theatres  by  the  great  Civil  War.  Furthermore,  the  disclosure  of  the 
approximate  chronology  of  the  plays  has  made  possible  a  replacement 
of  the  eighteenth-century  conception  of  a  monstrous  barbaric  genius, 
capable  of  all  things,  but  chaotic  in  ideas,  in  art,  and  in  style,  by  a  truer 
conception  of  a  genius,  of  the  very  first  order  to  be  sure,  but  passing 
through  a  marvellously  regular,  as  well  as  marvellously  rapid,  develop 
ment  of  ideas  and  of  style,  and  in  perfect  command  of  all  the  technical 
artistic  methods  and  resources  of  renaissance  culture. 

Despite  all  these  gains,  however,  much  work  still  remains  to  be 
done  if  we  are  to  eliminate  from  the  plays  which  bear  Shakespeare's 
name  the  alien  elements,  and  to  arrive  at  an  accurate  conception  of  his 
mind  and  character,  his  methods  of  work,  and  his  cultural  equipment. 
We  shall  find,  it  may  safely  be  asserted,  that,  in  the  first  place,  his  cultural 
equipment — his  acquaintance  with  the  great  literature  of  the  past  and 
his  familiarity  with  the  theories  of  art  and  of  composition — was  greater 
than  even  we  have  been  accustomed  to  suppose  ;  and,  in  the  second 
place,  that,  although  as  a  practical  dramatist  he  kept  his  eyes  steadily 
on  his  audience  and  made  use  of  every  sensational  device  and  trick 
that  theatrical  experience  had  developed  up  to  his  day,  he  nevertheless 
had  a  genuine,  personal,  unremunerable  interest  in  the  poetic  quality 
of  his  work. 

To  suggest  a  complete  programme  of  such  study  would  exceed  the 


present  limits  of  space,  but  two  tasks  lie  so  near  at  hand  and  are  essential 
to  so  many  others  that  they  may  be  emphasized  here. 

In  the  first  place,  despite  the  labours  of  two  hundred  years,  the 
text  of  the  plays  still  needs  to  be  established  by  scientific  instead  of 
haphazard  impressionistic  methods.  Textual  criticism  has  only  recently 
become  scientific,  and  scarcely  one  of  our  great  English  writers  has 
profited  as  yet  by  its  achievements.  Chaucer  and  Shakespeare  have 
profited  scarcely  at  all,  mainly  because  of  the  accumulated  mass  of 
traditional  rubbish  which  we  have  not  had  the  courage  to  discard.  We 
still  record  and  discuss  the  errors  and  guesses  of  the  second,  third,  and 
fourth  folios  of  Shakespeare's  plays  as  if  they  were  deserving  of  respect. 
The  first  step  toward  the  establishment  of  a  critical  text — an  absolute 
prerequisite  to  any  further  sound  work — would  seem  to  be  the  applica 
tion  to  the  first  folio  of  the  principles  and  methods  of  editing  Elizabethan 
texts  so  clearly  and  convincingly  expounded  by  Mr.  R.  B.  McKerrow. 
That  much  labour  is  demanded  by  such  methods  is  true  ;  but  half  the 
time  expended  in  making  casual,  and  therefore  futile,  record  of  variants 
between  extant  copies  of  the  early  folios  would  have  accomplished  the 
task  and  have  provided  us  with  an  unassailable  basis  for  all  future 
textual  criticism  of  Shakespeare. 

More  important,  as  well  as  more  difficult,  than  this  task  seems  that 
of  providing  the  means  of  distinguishing,  if  possible,  the  non- Shake 
spearian  elements  which  still,  after  years  of  diligent  guesswork,  un 
doubtedly  remain  in  the  plays,  not  unrecognized  but  for  the  present 
incapable  of  convincing  indication. 

Almost  all  attempts  to  discover  by  stylistic  and  metrical  tests  the 
authors  of  anonymous  Elizabethan  plays  or  the  unknown  collaborators 
in  plays  of  multiple  authorship  have  remained  unconvincing,  except 
to  the  would-be  discoverers.  The  same  situation  exists  in  other  periods 
of  English  literature.  The  main  reason  for  this  is  probably  that  other 
students  have  a  feeling — clearly  or  dimly  formulated — that  we  have  as 
yet  no  corpus  of  stylistic  characters  which  enables  us  to  form  a  critical 
judgement  of  such  attempts.  The  evidences  of  similarity  or  of  difference 
which  the  investigator  may  produce,  lack  force  and  convincing  quality 
-because  we  do  not  know  the  range  of  possibility  in  such  matters. 

Some  of  the  most  industrious  studies  intended  to  demonstrate  that 
this  piece  of  literature  was  the  work  of  Chaucer,  that  of  Shakespeare, 
that  of  Massinger  or  Middleton  or  Marston,  have  succeeded  in  con 
vincing  some  of  us  only  of  what  we  already  knew  :  namely,  that  the 
piece  was  the  work  of  an  English  writer  of  the  fourteenth,  the  sixteenth, 


or  the  seventeenth  century,  as  the  case  may  be.  Further  than  this  we 
shall  never  be  able  to  proceed  until  we  have  built  up  a  corpus  of  technical 
facts  in  two  fields. 

If  any  one  knows  what  are  the  essential  stylistic  (as  distinguished 
from  the  purely  linguistic)  discrimina  of  English  speech  in  any  age,  or  of 
any  great  writer,  he  is  at  least  incapable  of  conveying  his  conclusions 
to  the  rest  of  us  because  of  the  lack  of  any  definite  and  intelligible 
medium  of  communication.  We  need,  then,  in  the  first  place,  such 
a  study  of  the  general  characteristics  of  the  English  language  in  each 
age  as  M.  Ch.  Bailly  has  attempted  to  collect  for  the  French  language 
of  the  present  day  in  his  Manuel  de  Stylistique  and  his  Precis.  In  the 
second  place,  we  need  a  similar  collection  of  the  stylistic  peculiarities 
or  characters  of  individual  writers. 

It  is  obvious  that  trustworthy  collections  of  this  sort  can  be  made 
only  by  beginning  with  the  language  of  our  own  day,  in  regard  to 
which  we  are  able  to  control  with  practical  certainty  the  sources  of  our 





INGENIOUS  wits  have  often  amused  themselves  by  imagining  the 
possible  return  of  a  departed  genius  that  he  might  mingle  for  a  few 
hours  with  men  of  the  present  generation  ;  and  they  have  humorously 
speculated  upon  his  emotions  when  he  found  himself  once  again  in 
the  life  he  had  left  centuries  earlier.  They  have  wondered  what  he 
would  think  about  this  world  of  ours  to-day,  the  same  as  his  of  long  ago 
and  yet  not  the  same.  What  would  he  miss  that  he  might  have  expected 
to  find  ?  What  would  he  find  that  he  could  never  have  expected  ?  As 
he  had  been  a  human  being  when  he  was  in  the  flesh,  it  is  a  safe  guess 
that  he  would  be  interested  first  of  all  in  himself,  in  the  fate  of  his 
reputation,  in  the  opinion  in  which  he  is  now  held  by  us  who  know  him 
only  through  his  writings.  And  it  is  sad  to  think  that  many  a  genius 
would  be  grievously  disappointed  at  the  shrinkage  of  his  fame.  If  he 
had  hoped  to  see  his  books  still  alive,  passing  from  hand  to  hand,  familiar 
on  the  lips  as  household  words,  he  might  be  shocked  to  discover  that 
they  survived  solely  in  the  silent  obscurity  of  a  complete  edition,  elabor 
ately  annotated  and  preserved  on  an  upper  shelf  for  external  use  only. 
On  the  other  hand,  there  would  be  a  genius  now  and  then  who  had  died 
without  any  real  recognition  of  his  immortal  gifts  and  who,  on  his 
imagined  return  to  earth,  would  be  delighted  to  discover  that  he  now 
bulked  bigger  than  he  had  ever  dared  to  dream. 

It  is  with  this  second  and  scanty  group  that  Shakspere  would 
belong.  So  far  as  we  can  judge  from  the  sparse  records  of  his  life  and 
from  his  own  writings,  he  was  modest  and  unassuming,  never  vaunting 
himself,  never  boasting  and  probably  never  puffed  up  by  the  belief  that 
he  had  any  cause  to  boast.  What  he  had  done  was  all  in  the  day's  work, 
a  satisfaction  to  him  as  a  craftsman  when  he  saw  that  he  had  turned  out 
a  good  job,  but  a  keener  satisfaction  to  him  as  a  man  of  affairs  that  he 
was  thereby  getting  on  and  laying  by  against  the  day  when  he  might 
retire  to  Stratford  to  live  the  life  of  an  English  gentleman.  Probably 



no  other  genius  could  now  revisit  the  earth  who  would  be  more  com 
pletely  or  more  honestly  astonished  by  the  effulgence  of  his  fame.  To 
suppose  that  this  would  not  be  exquisitely  gratifying  to  him  would  be 
to  suggest  that  he  was  not  human.  Yet  a  chief  component  of  his  broad 
humanity  was  his  sense  of  humour ;  as  a  man  he  did  not  take  himself 
too  seriously,  and  as  a  ghost  he  would  certainly  smile  at  the  ultra-serious 
ness  of  his  eulogists  and  interpreters.  A  natural  curiosity  might  lead 
him  to  look  over  a  volume  or  two  in  the  huge  library  of  Shaksperian 
criticism  ;  but  these  things  would  not  detain  him  long.  Being  modest 
and  unassuming  still,  he  would  soon  weary  of  protracted  praise. 

It  may  be  that  Shakspere  would  linger  long  enough  over  his  critics 
and  his  commentators  to  note  that  they  have  belauded  him  abundantly 
and  superabundantly  as  a  poet,  as  a  philosopher,  as  a  psychologist,  and 
as  a  playwright.  He  might  even  be  puzzled  by  this  fourfold  classifica 
tion  of  his  gifts,  failing  for  the  moment  to  perceive  its  precision.  When 
he  read  praise  of  his  poetry,  he  would  naturally  expect  to  see  it  supported 
by  quotation  from  his  two  narrative  poems  or  from  his  one  sonnet- 
sequence.  Quite  possibly  he  might  be  somewhat  annoyed  to  observe 
that  these  juvenile  verses,  cordially  received  on  their  original  publication, 
were  now  casually  beplastered  with  perfunctory  epithets,  while  the 
sincerest  and  most  searching  commendation  was  bestowed  on  the  style 
and  on  the  spirit  of  the  plays,  in  their  own  day  unconsidered  by  literary 
critics  and  not  recognized  as  having  any  claim  to  be  considered  as 
literature.  Yet  this  commendation,  pleasing  even  if  unforeseen,  would 
not  go  to  his  head,  since  Shakspere — if  we  may  venture  to  deduce  his 
own  views  from  the  scattered  evidence  in  his  plays — had  no  very  high 
opinion  of  poets  or  of  poetry. 

If  he  might  be  agreeably  surprised  by  the  praise  lavished  on  him 
as  a  poet,  he  would  be  frankly  bewildered  by  the  commendation  bestowed 
on  him  as  a  philosopher.  He  knew  that  he  was  not  a  man  of  solid 
learning,  and  that  his  reading,  even  if  wide  enough  for  his  immediate 
purpose,  had  never  been  deep.  He  might  admit  that  he  had  a  certain 
insight  into  the  affairs  of  men  and  a  certain  understanding  of  the  intricate 
inter-relations  of  human  motives.  But  he  could  never  have  considered 
himself  as  an  original  thinker,  advancing  the  boundaries  of  knowledge 
or  pushing  speculation  closer  to  the  confines  of  the  unknowable.  All 
he  had  sought  to  do  in  the  way  of  philosophy  was  now  and  again  to 
phrase  afresh  as  best  he  could  one  or  another  of  the  eternal  common 
places,  which  need  to  be  minted  anew  for  the  use  of  every  oncoming 
generation.  If  a  natural  curiosity  should  tempt  Shakspere  to  turn 

A  a 


over  a  few  pages  of  his  critics  to  discover  exactly  what  there  was  in  his 
writings  to  give  him  rank  among  the  philosophers,  he  would  probably 
be  more  puzzled  than  before,  until  his  sense  of  humour  effected  a 
speedy  rescue. 

Bewildered  as  Shakspere  might  be  to  see  himself  dissected  as  a 
philosopher,  he  would  be  startled  to  discover  himself  described  also 
as  a  psychologist.  To  him  the  word  itself  would  be  unknown  and 
devoid  of  meaning,  strange  in  sound  and  abhorrent  in  appearance. 
Even  after  it  had  been  translated  to  him  with  explanation  that  he 
deserved  discussion  as  a  psychologist  because  he  had  created  a  host  of 
accusable  characters  and  had  carried  them  through  the  climax  of  their 
careers  with  subtle  self- revelation,  he  might  still  wonder  at  this  undue 
regard  for  the  persons  in  his  plays,  whom  he  had  considered  not  as  much 
vital  characters  as  effective  acting-parts  devised  by  him  to  suit  the  several 
capacities  of  his  fellow  actors,  Burbage  and  Arnim,  Heming  and  Condall. 
It  might  be  that  these  creatures  of  his  invention  were  more  than  parts 
fitted  to  these  actors  ;  but  none  the  less  had  they  taken  shape  in  his 
brain  first  of  all  as  parts  intended  specifically  for  performance  by  specific 
tragedians  and  comedians. 

Only  when  Shakspere  read  commendation  of  his  skill  as  a  play 
wright,  pure  and  simple,  as  a  maker  of  plays  to  be  performed  by  actors 
in  a  theatre  and  before  an  audience,  so  put  together  as  to  reward  the 
efforts  of  the  performers  and  to  arouse  and  sustain  the  interest  of  the 
spectators — only  then  would  he  fail  to  be  surprised  at  his  posthumous 
reputation.  He  could  not  be  unaware  that  his  plays,  comic  and  tragic, 
or  at  least  that  the  best  of  them,  written  in  the  middle  of  his  career  as 
a  dramatist,  were  more  adroitly  put  together  than  the  pieces  of  any  of 
his  predecessors  and  contemporaries.  He  could  not  forget  the  pains 
he  had  taken  to  knit  together  the  successive  situations  into  a  compelling 
plot,  to  provide  his  story  with  an  articulated  backbone  of  controlling 
motive,  to  stiffen  the  action  with  moments  of  tense  suspense,  to  urge  it 
forward  to  its  inevitable  and  irresistible  climax,  to  achieve  effects  of 
contrast,  and  to  relieve  the  tragic  strain  with  intermittent  humour.  And 
even  if  it  might  mean  little  or  nothing  to  him  that  he  was  exalted  to 
a  place  beside  and  above  Sophocles,  the  master  of  ancient  tragedy,  and 
Moliere,  the  master  of  modern  comedy,  he  might  well  be  gratified  to 
be  recognized  at  last  as  a  most  accomplished  craftsman,  ever  dexterous 
in  solving  the  problems  of  dramaturgic  technique. 

These  fanciful  suggestions  are  based  on  the  belief  that  Shakspere — 
like  every  other  of  the  supreme  artists  of  the  world — *  builded  better 


than  he  knew  '  ;  and  that  this  is  a  main  reason  why  his  work  abides 
unendingly  interesting  to  us  three  centuries  after  his  death.  He  seems 
to  have  written,  partly  for  self-expression,  of  course,  but  chiefly  for  the 
delight  of  his  contemporaries,  with  no  thought  for  our  opinion  fifteen 
score  years  later  ;  and  yet  he  wrought  so  firmly,  so  largely  and  so  loftily 
that  we  may  rightly  read  into  his  works  a  host  of  meanings  he  did  not 
consciously  intend — and  for  which  he  can  take  the  credit,  none  the  less, 
because  only  he  could  have  put  them  there. 



A  a  2 



WITHIN  the  city  square  the  fountain's  play 

Draws  from  their  dusty  games  the  girls  and  boys  ; 
They  love  its  coolness,  and  the  pleasant  noise 

Of  falling  water,  love  the  misty  spray 

Thrown  in  bright  showers  by  the  radiant  fay, 
Bedecked  in  rainbow  films,  a  shimmering  poise, 
Who  seems  just  lighted  from  a  world  of  joys 

Beyond  the  confines  of  our  common  day. 

So  from  the  dust  and  heat,  and  day-long  strain 
Of  toil  and  traffic  at  the  desk  or  mart, 
Men  seek  escape,  through  thy  pellucid  art, 

Into  a  world  of  kingly  joys  and  pain, 

Where,  in  the  racial  passions  of  the  heart, 

They  find  the  zest  for  common  tasks  again. 


//.     THE  FOT^EST  OF 

IN  this  charmed  wood  where  youth,  beneath  the  shade 
Of  ancient  boughs,  for  love's  fruition  yearned, 
Where  merry  note  to  bird's  sweet  throat  was  turned 

And  huntsman's  horn  resounded  through  the  glade, 

Where,  from  the  summer  sun  and  wintry  wind, 

From  trees  and  brooks  and  stones,  men  learned  content, 
And  brother's  heart,  on  brother's  death  intent, 

By  brother's  deed  was  turned  to  love  of  kind  ; 

In  this  dear  wood,  now  fallen  on  evil  days, 

Sounds  but  the  shriek  of  shell,  and  cry  infuriate 
Of  battle-maddened  men,  whom  murderous  Fate 

Leads  plunging,  writhing,  dying  in  her  maze. 
The  ravished  trees  lie  prone  in  mute  despair  ; 
The  very  birds  have  ceased  to  haunt  the  air. 





WHENEVER  one  compares  a  character  or  incident  in  Shakespeare 
with  the  original  sources,  one  almost  invariably  observes  that  the  poet, 
in  fusing  his  *  live  soul  and  that  inert  stuff ',  has  consciously  or  uncon 
sciously  betrayed  some  touch  of  fine  feeling,  some  human  tenderness, 
which  transfers  the  whole  situation  to  a  higher  plane.  This  is  clearly 
the  case  when  we  place  the  duke's  champion  of  As  You  Like  It  alongside 
the  uncouth  Norman  of  Thomas  Lodge's  romance.  Shakespeare  has 
been,  in  America  as  everywhere  else,  a  tremendously  civilizing  force. 
I  cannot  remember  a  single  instance  of  false  sentiment  in  his  works  ; 
and  even  his  minor  characters  reveal  the  innate  nobility,  purity,  and 
gentleness  of  the  world's  supreme  dramatist. 

Now  Charles  has  never  received  his  due — either  from  textual 
critics  or  from  the  audiences  which  for  three  centuries  have  applauded 
his  defeat.  Naturally  Orlando  misunderstood  him,  and  threw  him 
with  moral  as  well  as  physical  zest.  On  the  stage  Charles  is  represented 
as  a  loud-mouthed  braggart  and  bully  ;  the  ridiculous  ease  with  which 
he  is  *  knocked  out '  makes  even  the  skilful  laugh. 

Shakespeare,  in  altering  many  details  in  Lodge's  Rosalynde,  really 
made  Charles  not  only  human,  but  decidedly  attractive.  Charles  is 
a  professional  athlete  ;  like  most  men  of  his  class,  he  is  a  good  fellow, 
and  is  so  presented  in  the  play,  if  we  read  it  attentively,  without  pre 
conceived  opinions.  Shakespeare  has  given  us  information  withheld 
from  Orlando,  Rosalind,  and  Celia.  Charles  is  liberal  and  kindly  in 
disposition,  and  means  to  fight  fairly  for  his  reputation.  He  answers  in 
the  most  delightful  fashion  the  queries  of  Oliver  concerning  the  banished 
Duke,  the  forest  of  Arden,  and  the  Lady  Rosalind  ;  but  this  is  not  the 
object  of  his  visit.  Departing  entirely  from  the  original,  Shakespeare 
makes  Charles  wait  on  Oliver  for  the  express  purpose  of  saying  that  he 
has  heard  that  young  Orlando  is  to  wrestle  against  him,  disguised  ;  and 
as  it  does  not  occur  to  his  honest,  affectionate  nature  that  the  boy  can 
be  hated  by  his  own  brother,  he  asks  if  something  cannot  be  done  to 


prevent  Orlando's  injury  and  humiliation.  Charles  speaks  in  a  manner 
both  modest  and  masculine  ;  his  motive  in  seeking  the  interview  is 
wholly  admirable.  It  is  only  after  Oliver  has  told  him  a  series  of  lies 
about  Orlando,  that  Charles's  attitude  to  the  latter  changes,  and  accord 
ingly  he  speaks  roughly  to  him  just  before  the  combat.  The  profes 
sional  quite  rightly  regards  himself  not  as  a  competitor  with  an  amateur 
gentleman  in  an  athletic  contest,  but  rather  as  a  policeman  whose  duty 
it  is  to  destroy  a  dangerous  criminal.  I  sincerely  hope  that  Charles 
was  only  slightly  injured,  and  that  he  subsequently  learned  the  facts 
of  the  case.  At  all  events,  I  maintain  that  he  is  a  *  good  '  character. 




*  SHAKESPEARE  .  .  .  seems  to  me ',  says  Walt  Whitman,  *  of  astral 
genius,  first  class,  entirely  fit  for  feudalism.  His  contributions,  especially 
to  the  literature  of  the  passions,  are  immense,  for  ever  dear  to  humanity 
— and  his  name  is  always  to  be  reverenced  in  America.  But  there  is 
much  in  him  ever  offensive  to  democracy.  He  is  not  only  the  tally  of 
feudalism,  but  I  should  say  Shakespeare  is  incarnated,  uncompromising 
feudalism  in  literature.' 

With  such  an  arraignment  of  Shakespeare's  universality  and  his 
sympathy  with  his  fellow  men,  let  us  consider  the  common  folk  of  his 
plays  with  a  view  to  discover  the  poet's  actual  attitude  toward  that 
humbler  station  in  life  into  which  he  was  himself  indisputably  born. 
For  our  purpose  we  exclude  all  personages  of  rank,  all  his  characters 
of  gentle  birth,  together  with  all  those,  whatever  their  varying  degrees 
of  servitude,  who  wait  upon  royalty  or  form,  in  any  wise,  a  part  or 
parcel  of  the  households  of  great  folk.  This  excludes  all  of  Shakespeare's 
heroes,  unless  we  are  to  accept  the  pseudo-Shakespearian  Alice  Arden, 
or  thrust  lago  and  Shylock  out  of  the  heroic  category.  It  will  also 
exclude  Shakespeare's  fools,  from  trifling  Launce  and  the  delectable 
Feste  to  the  sad-eyed  companion  in  folly  of  King  Lear.  And  even 
Falstaff,  who  was  sometime  page  to  Sir  Thomas  Mowbray,  and  a  gentle 
man  however  unlanded,  must  stand  in  his  dignity  without  our  bounds. 

There  remain  for  us,  in  our  middle  domain,  some  threescore 
personages  who  have  speaking  parts,  of  a  diversity  the  equal  of  their 
betters  and  inferiors,  even  although  their  actual  roles  are,  for  the  most 
part,  subordinate.  Conveniently  to  treat  so  many  of  the  undistin 
guished,  we  must  group  them,  a  process  the  more  justifiable  when  we 
consider  that  thus  we  can  best  ascertain  what  are  really  Shakespeare's 
prejudices  and  whether  they  are  of  class  or  individual. 

The  drama  by  Shakespeare's  day  had  already  evolved,  or  rather 
created  by  iteration,  several  very  definite  stock  personages.  One  of 
these  is  the  pedant  or  schoolmaster,  so  well  known  to  Italian  comedy  ; 


and  Holof ernes,  in  Love's  Labour  9s  Lost,  with  his  loquacity,  affectation 
of  learning  and  essential  ignorance,  is  Shakespeare's  most  certain  con 
tribution  to  the  type.  As  to  *  the  pedant '  so  nominated  in  The  Taming 
oj  the  Shrew,  this  personage  is  taken  over  bodily  from  Gascoigne's 
Supposes,  the  translation  of  an  Italian  play,  and  performs  no  '  pedantic  ' 
function  ;  while  Pinch,  in  The  Comedy  of  Errors,  is  called  in  momen 
tarily  to  exorcise  the  devil  out  of  half-maddened  Antipholus  of  Ephesus. 
In  the  Welshman,  Sir  Hugh  Evans  of  The  Merry  Wives  of  Windsor,  we 
modulate,  so  to  speak,  from  the  schoolmaster  to  the  parson,  for  Evans 
apparently  performed  the  functions  of  both.  Evans  is  no  fool,  however 
he  may  have  sung  on  one  memorable  occasion,  in  breaking  voice,  un- 
gowned  and  sword  in  trembling  hand,  while  he  awaited  the  coming  of 
his  terrible  adversary,  the  French  Doctor  Caius,  deceived  in  the  meeting, 
like  himself,  by  a  parcel  of  incorrigible  wags. 

Shakespeare's  curates,  parsons,  and  religious  folk  are  many.  Of 
the  class  of  Evans  are  Sir  Nathaniel  in  Love's  Labour 's  Lost  and  Sir 
Oliver  Martext  in  As  You  Like  It.  Sir  Nathaniel  is  zany  to  the  pon 
derous  folly  of  Holof  ernes,  he  who  plays  the  role  of  *  Alisander  J  to  the 
latter's  Judas  in  the  immortal  *  ostentation,  or  show,  or  pageant,  or 
antique  of  the  Nine  Worthies  ' ;  while  our  joy  in  Sir  Oliver  lies  more 
in  his  delectable  cognomen  *  Martext '  than  in  the  very  brief  scenes  in 
which  he  is  brought  in  to  *  dispatch '  Touchstone  and  his  Audrey  into 
matrimony  under  the  greenwood  tree.  The  Shakespearian  Friar  is 
a  more  important  personage,  from  the  plotting,  necromantic  Home  and 
Southwell  in  the  second  part  of  Henry  VI  to  Juliet's  Friar  Lawrence 
with  his  minor  counterpart  of  minor  function,  Friar  Francis  in  Much 
Ado  About  Nothing,  and  the  Duke,  disguised  as  such,  in  Measure  for 
Measure.  Whether  a  matter  wholly  referable  to  his  sources  or  not, 
Shakespeare  conceived  the  friar  of  Roman  Catholic  Verona,  Messina, 
or  Vienna,  in  a  very  different  spirit  from  that  in  which  he  represents 
the  small  parson,  Sir  Hugh  or  Sir  Oliver.  Friar  Francis  in  Much  Ado 
About  Nothing  detects  the  '  strange  misprision  in  the  two  princes  ' 
whereby  the  Lady  Hero  is  slanderously  wronged,  and  it  is  his  prudent 
advice,  which,  followed  implicitly  by  the  lady  and  her  friends,  rights 
that  wrong  in  the  end.  The  likeness  of  this  function  of  Friar  Lawrence 
is  patent  to  the  most  superficial  reader  ;  but  unhappily  for  his  prudence 
and  his  ingenuity,  the  accident  to  his  messenger,  the  precipitancy  of 
Romeo,  the  influence  of  the  very  stars  is  against  him,  and  he  fails  where 
his  brother  friar  succeeded.  Nowhere  in  Shakespeare  does  the  clergy 
function  with  more  dignity  than  in  Measure  for  Measure,  whether  in  the 


role  of  the  chaste  and  devoted  novitiate,  Isabella,  or  in  the  grave  and 
searching  wisdom  of  the  duke.  What  Shakespeare's  attitude  toward 
formal  religion  may  have  been  we  have  little  that  is  definite  to  go  by. 
Who  can  doubt  that  it  was  he,  however,  and  none  other,  who  paid  for 
the  tolling  of  the  great  bell  of  St.  Saviour's  when  his  brother's  body 
was  laid  there  to  rest  ?  And  who  can  question,  with  all  his  scenes  of 
religious  pomp  and  dignity,  that  Shakespeare  recognized,  with  Wolsey, 
that  all  these  forms  of  earthly  vanity  are 

a  burden 
Too  heavy  for  a  man  that  hopes  for  heaven  ? 

We  may  regret  that  Shakespeare  has  nowhere  exhibited  to  us,  like 
Chaucer  in  his  '  poure  Persoun  of  a  toun ',  his  ideal  of  the  cloth.  It 
has  been  wittily  said  that  it  is  a  credit  to  human  nature  that  no  critic 
has,  as  yet,  called  Shakespeare  a  Puritan.  It  is  somewhat  less  creditable 
that  some  have  gone  about  to  show  him  the  satirist  of  Puritanism, 
especially  in  Malvolio.  It  was  Jonson,  the  moralist,  who  satirized 
Puritanism,  not  Shakespeare,  whose  business  was  with  qualities  that 
differentiate  men  in  the  essentials  of  their  natures  and  in  the  conduct 
which  these  differences  entail. 

Let  us  glance  next  at  the  physicians  of  Shakespeare.  In  Dr.  Caius, 
of  The  Merry  Wives  of  Windsor,  albeit  he  is  boastful  of  his  intelligence 
from  the  court,  the  doctor  is  lost  in  the  gross  wit  of  the  Frenchman's 
ignorance  of  English  satirized.  The  apothecary  who  sells  Romeo  his 
death  potion,  in  his  *  tattered  weeds ',  could  assuredly  not  have  been 
of  a  profession  in  which  there  are  no  beggars.  The  father  of  Helena 
in  All 's  Well  that  Ends  Wellt  although  he  left  to  his  daughter  the  miracu 
lous  cure  of  the  King  of  France  by  means  of  his  medical  secrets,  is 
reported  a  man  of  dignity,  learning,  and  much  experience  in  his  practice. 
The  doctor  in  Macbeth  has  won  the  praises  of  his  own  jealous  profession 
with  the  professional  aptitude  of  his  comments  on  the  somnambulist 
symptoms  of  Lady  Macbeth  ;  while  the  physician,  Cornelius,  skilled 
as  he  is  in  poisons,  honourably  deceives  the  wicked  queen  of  Cymbeline 
with  a  sleeping  potion  instead  of  the  deadly  drug  which  it  was  her 
purpose  to  administer  to  the  unhappy  Imogen. 

Unlike  his  contemporary  Middleton  and  some  others,  Shakespeare 
does  not  satirize  the  profession  of  the  law  ;  and  the  lawyer,  as  such, 
scarcely  figures  in  the  plays.  At  opposite  poles,  in  the  plays  which 
have  to  do  with  FalstarT,  we  have  Master  Shallow  *  in  the  county  of 
Gloucester,  justice  of  the  peace  and  "  coram  '  ',  described  by  Falstaff 


as  *  a  man  made  after  supper  of  a  cheese-paring  ...  for  all  the  world 
like  a  forked  radish,  with  a  head  fantastically  carved  upon  it  with  a 
knife '.    And  we  have  likewise  the  grave  and  honourable  Chief  Justice 
Gascoigne,  whose  courage  and  impartiality  in  the  exercise  of  his  high 
functions  caused  the  regenerate  Prince  to  choose  him  for  his  guide  and 
counsellor  on  the  assumption  of  his  new  royal  dignities.    As  to  the 
lesser  functionaries  of  the  law,  the  watchman,  the  constable,  and  the 
beadle,  Shakespeare  exhibits  the  general  free  spirit  of  his  time,  and 
laughs,  as  the  rest  of  the  world  has  ever  laughed,  at  the  insolence,  in 
eptitude,  and  ignorance  of  the  small  man  dressed  in  a  little  brief  authority. 
It  might  be  argued  with  some  likelihood  of  success  that  this  is  identi 
cally  the  spirit  that  marks  the  Sheriff  of  Nottingham  as  the  butt  of  the 
lawless  pranks  of  Robin  Hood,  the  attitude  towards  constituted  authority 
which  combined,  in  the  free  ranging  devils  of  the  old  miracle  plays,  the 
functions  of  policing  the  crowd  and  catering  to  its  merriment.    Beyond 
his  designation,  '  a  constable ',  Dull,  in  Love's  Labour 's  Lost,  scarcely 
represents  for  his  class  more  than  his  name  ;  and  as  to  Elbow,  in  Measure 
for  Measure,  his  '  simplicity ',  like  his  malapropisms,  seems  a  faint  and 
colourless  repetition  of  these  qualities  in  the  immortal  Dogberry.    Dog 
berry  is  universal,  the  ubiquitous,  inevitable,  unescapable  man  of  weight, 
ponderous  alike  physically  and  mentally  ;   for  I  am  persuaded  with  an 
old-fashioned  American  critic,  that  Dogberry  was  *  of  ample  size—no 
small  man  speaks  with  sedate  gravity  .  .  .    No  man  of  the  lean  and 
dwarfish  species  can  assume  the  tranquil  self-consequence  of  Dogberry. 
How  could  a  thinly  covered  soul  [exhibit]  .  .  .  that  calm  interior  glow, 
that  warm  sense,  too,  of  outward  security,  which  so  firmly  speaks  in 
Dogberry's  content  and  confidence  ? ' 

Our  obvious  generalization  as  to  Shakespeare 's  estimate  of  the 
learned  professions,  then,  is  this :  he  found  in  all,  earnest,  honourable, 
and  capable  men,  and  honoured  them  as  such ;  and  he  found  likewise 
among  them  the  stupid,  the  pedantic,  the  pretentious,  and  the  absurd. 
It  was  for  their  follies  that  he  ridiculed  them,  not  because  of  their  class 
or  their  station  in  life. 

Of  the  small  gentry  of  Elizabethan  England,  Master  Ford  and 
Master  Page,  with  their  two  merry  wives,  offer  us  the  best  example  in 
comedy.  The  discordant  plans  and  plots  for  a  provision  in  life  for 
Mistress  Anne  Page  are  in  keeping  with  many  a  like  unconscious  parody 
on  the  grand  alliances  of  folk  of  higher  station.  The  foolish  Slender, 
who  is  likewise  a  small  landed  proprietor,  is  nearer  an  absolute  *  natural ' 
than  any  of  Shakespeare's  clowns,  professional  or  other,  for  wit  proceeds 


no  more  out  of  him,  however  he  beget  wit  in  others,  than  it  ever  comes 
forth  from  the  mouth  of  Andrew  Aguecheek  his  cousin-german  (so  to 
speak)  of  Illyria.  In  Alexander  Iden,  who,  meeting  with  Jack  Cade  in 
his  Kentish  garden,  kills  him  in  a  single  fight,  we  have  a  serious  personage 
much  of  Slender 's  station  in  life.  But  Iden  has  his  wits  as  well  as  his 
valour  about  him,  and  his  knighting  is  his  deserved  reward.  Nearer 
the  soil,  if  closer  to  royalty,  is  the  kind-hearted,  allegorical-minded 
king's  gardener  who  apprises  the  queen  of  Richard  II  of  that  monarch's 
mischance  in  falling  into  the  hands  of  his  enemy,  victorious  Bolingbroke. 
In  the  country  folk  that  fill  in  the  background  of  As  You  Like  It  and  the 
later  acts  of  The  Winter's  Tale,  Shakespeare's  English  spirit  comes  into 
contact  with  the  conventional  types  of  Italian  pastoral  drama.  Phebe 
is  the  typical  shepherdess,  beloved  but  not  loving,  and  Sylvius,  the 
pursuing  shepherd  unbeloved.  But  as  if  to  correct  an  impression  so 
artificial,  we  have,  beside  them,  William  and  Audrey,  English  country 
folk  in  name  and  nature  like  Costard  and  Jaquenetta,  and  in  Shake 
speare's  maturer  art,  far  more  redolent  of  the  soil.  William,  like  Slender, 
and  many  a  man  of  better  station,  is  a  mere  natural ;  but  his  witlessness 
is  as  distinguishable  from  the  folly  of  the  Shakespearian  *  clown  ',  as 
his  boorishness  differs  from  the  literal  simplicity  of  the  Shepherd  who 
becomes  foster-brother  to  Perdita  in  The  Winter's  Tale.  Mopsa  and 
Dorcas,  with  their  shepherds  of  the  sheep-shearing,  in  these  charming 
comedy  scenes,  are  English  country  folk  ;  and  Autolycus,  despite  his 
fine  Greek  name,  is  a  delightful  English  rogue  and  incorrigible  vagabond. 
And  now  that  we  have  all  but  touched  the  bottom  of  the  Shake 
spearian  social  scale,  we  may  note  that  in  Shakespeare,  poverty  does 
not  necessarily  make  a  man  vicious,  nor  does  roguery  destroy  humour 
in  a  man  or  deprive  him  of  his  brains.  The  porter  in  Macbeth  is  a 
foul-mouthed  drunken  lout ;  the  nameless  *  old  man  '  in  the  same 
tragedy  is  a  credulous  recorder  of  marvels.  But  Adam,  the  old  serving- 
man  of  Orlando,  is  faithful  almost  to  death.  Dame  Quickly  of  London 
is  a  silly  old  muddle-head,  alike  innocent  of  morals  and  of  common- 
sense  ;  and  her  sister  Dame  Quickly  of  Windsor  is  a  shameless  go- 
between  and  meddler  ;  but  the  widow,  keeper  of  lodgings  for  pilgrims 
in  All 's  Well  that  Ends  Well,  has  a  virtuous  and  honourable  disposition. 
The  drawer,  Francis,  in  Henry  IV,  '  sums  up  his  eloquence  in  the 
parcel  of  a  reckoning  ' ;  but  there  is  no  keener,  droller  fellow  in  the 
world  than  the  grave-digger  in  Hamlet,  and  it  is  dubious  if  for  natural 
parts,  however  diverted  to  the  *  doing  '  and  undoing  of  his  fellows, 
Autolycus  has  ever  had  his  equal.  Shakespeare's  carriers  talk  of  their 


jades  and  their  packs  ;  his  vintners  and  drawers  of  their  guests  and 
their  drinking  ;  his  musicians  disparage  their  own  skill  and  have  to  be 
coaxed  to  show  it ;  and  his  honest  botchers,  weavers,  and  bricklayers 
hate  learning,  and  in  their  rage  variously  kill  a  poet  and  hang  a  clerk. 
And  curious  as  all  this  may  appear  to  him  who  habitually  views  the 
classes  below  him  as  merely  his  servants  or  the  objects  of  his  organized 
charity,  all  this — save  possibly  the  homicides — is  as  true  of  to-day  as 
of  the  age  of  Shakespeare. 

And  here  perhaps  as  well  as  anywhere,  we  may  digress  into  *  the 
Shakespearian  prejudice  as  to  mobs  '.  The  mob  figures  as  such  con 
spicuously  three  times  in  Shakespeare's  plays — in  the  second  part  of 
King  Henry  VI ',  in  Julius  Caesar,  and  in  Coriolanus.  It  is  represented 
in  all  three  cases  as  fickle,  turbulent,  cruel,  foul,  and  possessed  of  a  rude 
sense  of  humour  ;  and  this  last  is  Shakespeare's — perhaps,  more 
accurately,  the  Elizabethan — contribution  to  the  picture.  It  has  been 
well  observed  that  Tudor  England  presented  no  precise  parallel  to  the 
persistent  struggle  of  the  Roman  plebs  against  the  bulwarks  of  patrician 
oligarchy.  And  it  is  doubtful  if  Shakespeare  would  have  sought  for 
such  parallels  had  they  existed.  In  unessentials — and  the  picture  of  the 
mob  is  such  to  the  dramatic  action  of  these  two  Roman  plays — Shake 
speare  is  always  faithful  to  his  sources,  and  Plutarch's  crowd  is  cruel, 
seditious,  and  '  contemptibly  responsive  '  to  the  most  obvious  blandish 
ments  of  the  demagogue.  In  the  admirable  scenes  of  Jack  Cade's 
rebellion,  although  the  material  was  nearer  home,  Shakespeare  once 
more  followed  his  sources,  here  in  Holinshed  and  Halle.  Neither  of 
these  worthies  comprehended  in  the  slightest  degree  the  actual  political 
issues  underlying  the  Kentishmen's  revolt,  which  historically  was  as 
respectable  as  it  was  fruitless.  But  Shakespeare  was  not  seeking  histori 
cal  accuracy,  but  dramatic  effectiveness  and  fidelity  to  the  observed 
characteristics  of  ignorant  men  escaped  from  the  curb  of  the  law. 
Shakespeare,  as  to  the  mob,  was  no  sociologist,  and  his  yearning  for 
the  submerged  truth  was  not  that  of  many  a  worthy  gentleman  of  our 
own  time  who  otherwise  misrepresents  the  unshriven  objects  of  his 
solicitude.  In  short,  a  mob  was  to  the  unlettered  dramatist  merely 
a  mob.  Man  running  in  packs  unbridled  by  authority  was  a  pheno 
menon  better  known  to  unpoliced  Elizabethan  England  than  to  us,  and 
Shakespeare  found  most  of  his  own  impressions  in  this  matter  to  tally 
remarkably  with  those  of  Plutarch  and  Holinshed. 

With  Shakespeare's  mob  we  leave  the  country  and  meet  with 
the  small  tradesmen  of  towns  ;  for  even  the  Kentish  '  rabblement '  of 


Jack  Cade  is  represented,  like  that  of  ancient  Rome,  as  made  up  of  small 
tradespeople — cobblers,  butchers,  smiths,  and  the  like — not  folk  of  the 
fields.  Individually  as  collectively,  Shakespeare  has  a  greater  apprecia 
tion  for  the  humours  of  the  tailor,  the  joiner,  and  the  bellows-mender 
than  for  his  psychology.  The  drunken  tinker  of  The  Taming  of  the 
Shrew,  the  author  found  in  his  source  and,  unlike  that  source,  wearied, 
he  dropped  his  adventures  when  the  play  within  the  play  was  at  an  end. 
The  hempen  homespuns,  with  the  illustrious  weaver,  Bottom,  at  their 
head,  repeat,  in  their  absurd  drama  of  Pyramus  and  Thisbe,  a  situation 
already  sketched  in  Love's  Labour '$  Lost,  one  in  which  the  banter  and 
cruel  interruption  of  ungentle  gentles  evidently  reproduces  a  situa 
tion  by  no  means  unknown  to  better  actors  than  Bottom,  Flute,  and 
Starveling.  A  kindly  spirit  speaks  in  the  words  of  Theseus  : 

For  never  anything  can  be  amiss 
When  simpleness  and  duty  tender  it; 

for  truly  is  he  tolerant  who  can  find  words  of  praise  for  the  good  inten 
tions  of  the  amateur  actor,  a  being  little  loved  of  gods  or  men.  To  the 
professional  player,  whom  he  knew  better  than  any  other  man  of  art, 
Shakespeare  is  courteous  and  appreciative  in  the  person  of  Hamlet, 
and  we  know  from  an  often  quoted  sonnet,  how  deeply  he  could  feel 
the  degradation  which  popular  contemporary  opinion  attached  to  the 
player's  art. 

The  merchant,  in  Shakespeare's  day,  was  a  far  more  dignified 
person  than  the  mere  man  of  trade.  A  merchant,  it  is  true,  waits  with 
a  jeweller,  but  also  with  a  painter  and  a  poet,  in  the  anteroom  of  the 
sumptuous  spendthrift  Timon.  But  ordinarily,  the  merchant  is  a  more 
dignified  person,  extending  courtesy  to  strangers,  as  in  The  Comedy  oj 
Errors,  taking  risks  for  his  merchandise  and  for  himself,  as  in  the  case 
of  old  Aegeon,  in  the  same  play,  who  has  ventured  on  markets  forbidden 
and  is  imprisoned  for  his  daring.  The  most  notable  Shakespearian 
merchant  is,  of  course,  Antonio,  the  merchant  prince  of  Venice,  an 
adventurer  in  the  Elizabethan  sense  into  strange  markets  and  a  gambler 
for  high  commercial  stakes.  His  gravity — or  presaging  melancholy — 
befits  his  dignity,  and  his  generosity  to  Bassanio,  a  fellow  adventurer 
(but  in  more  than  the  Elizabethan  sense),  is  only  equalled  by  his  autho 
rity  among  his  fellow  merchants  and  his  scorn  of  the  unrighteous  Jew. 
Shy  lock,  too,  is  of  the  merchant  class,  but  a  pariah  alike  for  his  race 
and  his  practice  of  usury.  But  Shy  lock  will  take  us  into  precincts  irre 
levant  ;  for  the  Jew,  whatever  your  thought  of  him  or  mine,  is  not  of 
the  common  folk  even  of  Shakespeare. 


Next  to  the  merchants  come  Shakespeare's  seamen,  the  noble- 
minded  Antonio  of  Twelfth  Night,  Sebastian's  friend,  the  outspoken 
sea-captain,  boatswain,  and  mariners  of  The  Tempest,  the  attendant 
sailors  and  fisher-folk  of  Pericles.     Shakespeare  was  a  landsman  ;   save 
for  an  occasional  line,  his  descriptions  of  the  sea,  in  the  richest  of  all 
literatures  in  this  respect,  are  none  of  them  important.    The  mariner 
as  such  he  treats  with  the  respect  of  a  person  only  partially  known. 
With  the  soldier,  in  a  martial  age,  Shakespeare  was  better  acquainted, 
and  he  knew  him  from  the  kings  and  great  commanders  of  the  historical 
plays  to  such  pasteboard  and  plaster  military  men  as  Parolles,  Nym, 
and  Pistol.    Of  FalstafFs  levy  and  his  rabble  attendants,  from  Bardolph 
of  the  carbuncled  nose  to  the  minute  page,  it  may  be  said  that  they  cut 
a  sorrier  figure  in  France  than  at  the  Boar's  Head  in  Eastcheap.    But 
Shakespeare's  army  levied  better  men  than  these  ;   the  heroic  gunners 
on  the  walls  of  Orleans,  the  brave  and  capable  captains  of  four  kingdoms, 
Gower,  Fluellen,  Macmorris,  and  Jamy  in  Henry  V,  and  the  manly 
English  soldiers  Bates,  Court,  and  Williams.     If  the  refined,  modern 
critic,  versed  in  the  psychological  researches  of  an  incessantly  prying 
world,  would  learn  whether  the  old  dramatist,  Shakespeare,  had  any 
notions  as  to  the  mental  processes  and  moral  stability  of  the  common 
man,  let  him  read  and  ponder  the  simple  incident  of  King  Henry  V, 
incognito,  and  the  soldier  Williams,  and  their  arguments  pro  and  con 
as  to  the  responsibility  of  princes.    Williams  is  the  type  of  the  honest, 
fearless,  clear-headed  '  man  in  the  street '  who  honours  his  king,  not 
slavishly  because  he  is  a  king,  but  for  the  qualities  that  make  him  kingly ; 
who  respects  manhood  (his  own  included)  above  rank,  and  is  the  more 
valiant  that  he  knows  the  cost  of  valour.    There  are  several  well-known 
tales  of  military  devotion — they  are  not  English — of  the  soldier,  wounded 
unto  death  in  a  quarrel,  the  righteousness  or  wrong  of  which  he  cares 
not  even  to  inquire,  who  dies  in  infatuated  content  that  he  has  obeyed, 
in  unquestioning  faith,  the  august  commands  of  his  master.   Williams 
is  not  of  this  type.    His  free  soul  will  challenge  his  gage  in  the  eye  of  his 
prince  and  when  his  heart  tells  him  he  is  right,  let  the  devil  forbid. 
Shakespeare,  too,  knew  the  common  man,  who  is  bleeding  to-day  for 
England  ;   and  his  trust,  like  ours,  was  in  him.    Nor  did  our  wise  old 
dramatist,  for  all  his  scenes  of  the  pomp  and  circumstance  of  war,  forget 
its  terror,  its  sorrow,  and  its  pathos.    In  the  third  part  of  Henry  VI,  that 
unhappy  king  is  seated  alone  on  the  field  of  battle,  as  the  struggle  surges 
away  from  him.    And  there  enters  *  a  son  that  hath  killed  his  father, 
dragging  in  the  dead  body ',  and  later  *  a  father  bearing  his  dead  son '. 


Poignant  are  the  words  of  these  common  men  in  their  common  woe, 
the  battle  woe  of  all  ages  and  all  times,  in  the  grip  of  which  the  least 
are  as  the  great  and  the  greatest  as  the  poorest. 

In  the  taverns,  the  brothels  and  the  jails,  Shakespeare  found  the 
foul-mouthed,  the  ignorant,  and  the  dishonest,  and  he  represented  them 
in  all  these  particulars  in  a  faithful,  if  at  times  forbidding,  reality  of 
life.  Moreover,  his  prejudice  against  evil  is  pronounced  in  the  very 
repulsiveness  of  such  scenes.  He  knows  that  there  are  impostors  among 
beggars,  that  trial  by  combat  is  only  a  somewhat  cruder  method  of 
getting  at  the  truth  than  trial  by  jury,  that  there  are  corrupt  and  in 
competent  magistrates  and  fools  abounding  in  all  walks  of  life.  More 
over,  he  depicts  in  his  plays  a  feudal  state  of  society,  for  such  was  English 
society  in  his  day.  But  there  is  nothing  in  these  honest  dramatic  pictures 
of  English  life,  from  the  king  on  his  throne  to  Abhorson  with  his  heads 
man's  axe,  to  declare  Shakespeare  prejudiced  against  any  class  of  his 
fellow  countrymen.  Wherefore,  our  obvious  generalization  as  to 
Shakespeare's  attitude  toward  common  folk,  whether  they  be  learned 
or  unlearned,  is  this  :  he  found  among  them  the  stupid,  the  ignorant, 
the  pretentious,  and  the  absurd ;  but  he  found  likewise  in  each  class 
the  earnest,  the  honourable,  and  capable,  and  honoured  each  after  his 
kind  as  such.  For  their  follies  he  ridiculed  them  ;  for  their  virtues, 
which  he  recognized,  he  loved  them,  deflecting  neither  to  ridicule  nor 
respect  because  of  station  in  life. 




FOUR  years  will  presently  be  gone  since  the  hand  that  could  have 
shaped  a  fit  message,  worthy  of  this  occasion,  wrote  its  last  word. 
Horace  Howard  Furness  died  suddenly  and  quietly  one  August  evening 
in  1912,  his  labours  upon  Cymbeline  being  then  so  nearly  completed 
that  the  volume  as  he  left  it  was  published  by  his  son,  Horace  the  younger. 
The  Editor  of  the  New  Variorum  was  my  kinsman  and  my  very  dear 
friend.  His  opinions  and  surmises  about  Cymbeline  he  told  me  week 
by  week,  while  the  work  was  going  on.  His  interest  was  so  keen  and 
vivacious  that,  when  the  telegram  came  to  tell  us  that  of  him  also  it  was 
now  to  be  said,  *  home  art  gone  and  ta'en  thy  wages/  it  seemed  incre 
dible,  and  for  a  long  while  so  remained.  It  is  the  memory  of  those  final 
talks,  the  knowledge  that  it  would  please  him,  that  now  spur  me  to  meet 
a  task  far  beyond  my  unscholarly  powers,  even  had  months,  instead  of 
days,  been  allotted  for  the  performing  of  it.  Yet  even  without  such 
a  spur,  what  lover  of  Shakespeare  and  of  England  could  think  for  a 
moment  of  turning  aside  from  the  task  in  this  year  of  the  poet's  fame, 
and  this  hour  of  his  Island's  life  ? — *  that  water-walled  bulwark,  still 
secure  and  confident  from  foreign  purposes '. 

I  shall  not  be  so  presumptuous  as  to  attempt  any  tribute  to  him 
who  has  surpassed  the  magic  of  his  own  created  sprite  in  putting  a  girdle 
about  the  earth.  When  time  and  the  whole  of  civilized  mankind  have 
set  him  where  he  is,  what  is  left  to  say  ?  What  wreath  to-day  can  add 
a  flower  to  his  name,  or  serve  to  do  more  than  unite  us  in  coming  grate 
fully  into  the  presence  of  the  mighty  memory  ? 

'  Others  abide  our  question.  Thou  art  free.'  Some  men  (and  some 
of  them  wise)  are  not  of  Matthew  Arnold's  mind.  They  would  have 
a  Shakespeare  visible  throughout  his  days,  caught  in  the  trap  of  research, 
his  person  disclosed  from  an  age  even  earlier  than  his  poaching  escapades 
and  precocious  love-making,  until  even  after  he  had  left  his  second-best 
bedstead  to  his  wife.  They  would  like  to  know  how  much  and  how 
little  she  was  a  helpmeet  to  him;  what  breakfast  she  gave  him,  and 

B  b 


if  she  cooked  it  to  his  taste ;  and  if  it  was  a  domestic  quarrel  that  sent 
him  away  from  her  side  to  London.  They  would  follow  him,  and  pry, 
and  touch,  and  know  all  the  littlenesses  we  know  about  in  ourselves, 
that  I  thank  Heaven  we  do  not  know  about  in  him.  I  am  even  glad 
that  over  his  work-desk  there  hangs  an  impenetrable  veil.  Around  him 
is  thus  drawn  a  circle  that  I  trust  none  will  ever  find  the  secret  of  entering. 
The  public  records  of  London,  that  nobody  ever  searched  so  perse- 
veringly  for  clues  until  Professor  Wallace  had  this  ingenious  thought, 
have  furnished  him  with  some  information  ;  and  that  it  was  an  American 
who  may  have  fixed  the  true  site  of  the  Globe  Theatre  is  a  feat  for 
Americans  to  be  proud  of.  But  that  the  poet  boarded  with  a  maker 
of  fashionable  headdresses,  named  Mountjoy,  and  intervened  amiably 
there  in  a  family  matter,  does  not  interest  me.  May  the  public  records, 
and  every  quarry  that  he  digs  in,  yield  Professor  Wallace  a  store  of 
anecdotes  about  Webster  of  whom  we  know  so  little,  and  poor  Massin- 
ger,  and  Ford's  successful  marriage  and  melancholy  hat — about  any 
other  of  that  great  company  you  please,  and  not  a  jot  more  about 
Shakespeare  ! 

We  know  about  him  all  we  need ;  there  he  stands,  a  mystery,  yet 
definite ;  more  indestructible  than  any  other  human  creator ;  something 
almost  like  a  natural  law.  The  sentences  that  he  wrote  seem  rather  to 
make  our  mother-tongue  than  to  be  made  of  it.  A  notion  of  how 
definite  he  is,  yet  how  immeasurable,  cannot  be  obtained  without 
knowing  the  Greeks,  and  his  fellow  Elizabethans,  and  Goethe,  Dante, 
and  Moliere.  It  is  by  standing  him  against  a  background  of  all  these 
others  that  we  see  him  most  distinctly.  Those  things  wherein  some 
of  them  surpass  him  serve  to  show  his  greater  vastness  :  for  neither 
the  Greek  symmetry  nor  the  intellectual  depths  of  Faust  are  large  enough 
to  hold  Lear,  Ariel,  Caliban,  and  FalstafF — all  contained  in  the  one  man, 
with  room  for  so  much  more.  Dante,  too,  grasps  certain  portions  of 
life  harder,  but  the  rest  he  scarcely  touches.  Moliere  remains.  If  his 
Misanthrope  and  Tartufie  go  beyond  anything  of  the  sort  in  the  comedies, 
he  wrote  no  Hamlet. 


The  Shakespeare  readings  of  Fanny  Kemble,  my  grandmother, 
which  began  in  Philadelphia  in  1849,  probably  led  to  the  forming  of  our 
Shakspere  Society — the  oldest  Shakespeare  Society  in  the  world — two 
years  later.  She  had  quickened  interest  in  the  plays,  and  some  gentlemen 



accordingly  organized  themselves  into  a  body  dedicated  to  a  thorough 
and  critical  study  of  the  poet.  They  met  every  two  weeks  during  certain 
months.  Some  of  them  were  lawyers  and  judges,  and  it  was  a  company 
of  trained  intelligences.  In  a  few  years,  after  a  season  spent  upon  The 
Tempesty  they  printed  privately  the  notes  resulting  from  its  study. 
Here  was  a  plain  sign  that  they  were  not  satisfied  with  the  comments 
and  explanations  of  previous  Shakespearians — with  all  of  which  their 
excellent  library  provided  them.  In  1866-7  their  study  of  Romeo  and 
Juliet  added  to  their  dissatisfaction.  Horace  Howard  Furness  had  been 
a  member  of  the  Society  since  1860,  when  he  was  twenty-seven  years 
old,  and  when  he  had  learned  that  his  deafness  was  to  prevent  the  possi 
bility  of  his  ever  practising  his  profession,  the  Law.  Early  in  1871 
appeared  his  Romeo  and  Juliet,  '  affectionately  inscribed '  to  the  Shakspere 
Society  of  Philadelphia.  The  shape  and  size  of  the  volume,  its  print, 
everything  connected  with  its  appearance  and  convenience,  had  been 
the  subject  of  thought  and  discussion  among  the  members.  They,  at 
a  meeting  held  February  7,  1871,  formally  resolved  that  '  In  the  opinion 
of  the  Society  no  single  volume  yet  published  in  America  is  at  all  equal 
to  this  in  value  as  a  contribution  to  Shakespeare  literature*.  I  am  writing 
this  on  the  gth  day  of  March,  1916.  Every  other  Wednesday  the 
Shakspere  Society  still  meets.  It  met  last  night,  and,  after  dining  (for 
it  always  dines  first),  gave  its  attention  to  the  fourth  Act  of  Antony  and 
Cleopatra,  Scene  xiv,  line  114,  to  the  end  of  the  Act.  Our  Dean  i